Students shine at 2nd Annual Inclusive Skills Competition

Group photo of competitors (photo contributed)

For the second year in a row, students of all abilities put their practical and culinary learning to the test for the Inclusive Skills Baking Competition. Hosted at Uxbridge Secondary School, students in the Practical Learning Program (PLP) at schools across DDSB brought their smiles and ‘A’ game for a fun day and some friendly competition.

Leading up to the competition, students with different abilities were paired up with Uxbridge SS culinary arts students. Together, they practiced kitchen safety, measuring, and decorating.

The result was as delicious as you can imagine with students baking tea biscuits, cookies, and soft pretzels. With huge grins, they proudly showed off their culinary creations to judges and their excited families who were cheering them on from the gallery.

After their hard work in the kitchen, every student was presented with a “Durham Skills Challenge” medal and a certificate of excellence.

Back again this year to judge was BBQ Naz of the Food Network, country singer Leah Daniels, Uxbridge SS alumnus Noelle Hobor, and Grade 11 student Ella Goodwill.

With this being Noelle’s second year volunteering to organize and judge the competition, she has seen first-hand the evolution from last year to now.

“This year we really prioritized relationship building between the pairs ahead of the competition to allow them time to bond and learn together,” says Hobor. “The best part is seeing all the big smiles and watching their skills and confidence flourish.”

Organizing the competition is a labour of love for David Brown, Head of Culinary Arts at Uxbridge SS, as well as for the student volunteers. “We wouldn’t be able to run this without the student volunteers. There’s no bigger heart than the heart of a volunteer,” says Brown.

As for the future of the competition, Inclusive Student Services Instructional Facilitator Geoff Tunnard says he hopes it inspires other schools to think about how they can incorporate inclusivity into programs that already exist like culinary arts.

“It’d also be great to see more inclusivity in other cooperative education trades programs in schools and at the provincial skills competition,” says Tunnard. “An event like this is everything we look for in education.”

SOURCE: Durham District School Board

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