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MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 20, 2014 –As long as they can remember they have trained for this day. Enduring the long hours, tedious tasks and mind-bending exercises. The air will be filled with the smells of grease, hair spray, simmering meals and much more. Welcome, to the 2014 Vocational Education Olympic Games!

Every year, students enrolled in vocational programs everywhere compete to win the title of the best in their area of study. The competition starts out locally, with each career center holding their own competition internally within each program. The best two in each discipline are selected and allowed to compete in the regional competition. Winners from each field travel to Expo Cité Centre de Foires in Quebec City and compete against the best of the best. The victors from Quebec City are invited to compete in the national competition that will be held in Toronto. Finally, the champions from the nationals will then proceed to the international competition in São Paulo, Brazil next August.

 “It is very exciting for our students in the different programs” says AEVS Educational Consultant Harriet Cohen. “It gives them a chance to meet each other, to network and see what all the other school boards are doing. Like the Olympics in Sochi, this Olympiad competition is just as exciting for us because it’s a skills competition and our students shine.” 

For the region of Montreal, five school boards will be competing: Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Commission Scolaire English-Montreal, Commission Scolaire Lester-B. Pearson, Commission Scolaire de la Pointe-de-l’Île and Commission Scolaire de Montreal. The schedule of the competition will be as follows. Besides Auto Mechanics, which took place at the Laurier Macdonald Career Centre in St. Léonard on February 18, the Nursing and Cooking competitions were held on February 19 at the Centre de formation professionnelle (CFP) des métiers de la santé and the Pearson Adult and Career Centre respectively and Hairdressing took place on February 20 at the Centre Antoine de St. Exupéry. Still to come are Welding on February 21 at Centre Anjou; Secretarial Studies on February 24 at Ecole des métiers de l’informatique du commerce et de l’administration (ÉMICA) and Machining Techniques on February 26 at École des métiers de l'aérospatiale de Montréal (ÉMAM).

Each of the school boards take turns hosting an event. The auto mechanics competition at LMAC Career Centre marked the start. Eight students competed, with Han Hyunsoo and Alexander Gorborukov representing the EMSB. Program coordinator and teacher, Frank Di Tirro, looks forward to this competition each year:

“I enjoy this competition immensely because we can see the results and see the students go through all the different tasks,” explained Mr. Di Tirro, as he patted a fellow teacher on the shoulder. “Laurier Macdonald usually ranks pretty high in the competition so I say we’ve done pretty well. I like that our students are able to participate in something like this because it really gives them a feel for what it is like out there when they are working under pressure.”

Grading and scoring the competitors were seven judges, all from within the auto mechanics industry, with the chief judge hailing from Honda Ste-Rose.

“This is a competition where we get to see the best that we have in a given discipline. Its great to see how hard they train and work for the end result,” expressed Laurier Macdonald Career Centre Vice Principal Lydia Landori. “We don’t realize all the hours and work that the students dedicate to their craft. In my mind it is somewhat relatable to what the Olympians that are currently competing in the Sochi Winter games work and train for. They have such perseverance and its great.”

Strength and perseverance certainly do pay off. At the closing ceremonies of the first day of the Vocational Education Olympiad Games, the winner of the auto mechanics competition was Laurier Macdonald’s very own Han Hyunsoo, who is also one of the EMSB’s International students.


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213