Students from the Schools of Media, Trades, and Hospitality and Tourism won medals in four categories, including two gold, two silver, and one bronze. Two NC students will go on to compete at nationals.
Game Design and Graphic Design students at Niagara College found themselves atop the podium at the 2023 Skills Ontario Competition, winning gold and a chance to represent Ontario at nationals.
On top of earning two gold wins in 3D Digital Game Art and Graphic Design – Studio Production, a Game Development student andHairstyling student each won silver, and an Esthetician student won bronze in their competitions.
The first-place winners will advance to the Skills Canada National Competition in Winnipeg, May 25-26.
“It’s so wonderful to see our students succeed at this level,” said Charles Kopun, Associate Dean of the School of Media. “It requires a lot of work and dedication outside the demands of the program as well as support from faculty. And the competition itself is a great way for them to network with other students across the province and apply what they’ve been learning in labs and classrooms.”
3D Digital Game Art
For the second year in a row, two NC Game Development students came out on top, winning first and second place against competitors from across Ontario – a testament to student excellence in the School of Media.
Joint NC-Brock University Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Game Design program student Evan Sawatsky of St. Catharines, and Game Development student Ricardo Mohammed of Welland won gold and silver, respectively, in the 3D Digital Game Art competition. Sawatsky will return to NC in the fall for his final year, while Mohammed will graduate in the spring.
With just eight hours on the clock, students were challenged to create a 3D model of a robot, responsible for modelling, texturing, and lighting it based on the supplied concept art and game description. The competition was designed to simulate real-world production from concept to delivery.
“Having the opportunity to represent Niagara College at the Skills Ontario Competition and to meet other students with similar passions was as educational as it was exciting,” said Sawatsky. “I know that all of my fellow competitors worked incredibly hard both to make it to the provincial competition and during our specific contest, which makes advancing to the nationals in Winnipeg even more special.”
While the provincial qualifier consisted of asset creation only, the national contest will be a more in-depth, multi-day event requiring skills like animation and rigging.
For Sawatsky, advancing to compete on the national stage is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to advance his career before he graduates. “I look forward to making the most if it in any way that I can, from networking with Canadian competitors to (hopefully) representing Canada on the world stage.”
He credits the guidance and support from NC instructors Rick Goertz, Conor MacNeill, Kevin Gordon, and Frank Knezic to preparing him for the competition.
Graphic Design – Studio Production
It was a bit of beginners luck and lot of talent for graduating student Erin Dobell who won gold at the Skills Ontario Competition, marking the first time that NC’s Graphic Design program has competed.
“We didn’t really know what we were walking into,” explained Dobell. “It was definitely outside my comfort zone and it paid off.”
Dobell of Jordan, Ontario – who will graduate this spring – says it was the encouragement from NC professor Jessie Demone that inspired her to compete.
Dobell and the competitors were tasked with creating a new logo for a cottage company as well as a variety of marketing materials, including a flyer, keycard holder, and company website – all in just seven and a half hours.
“It was a great experience and I did not expect to do so well. Now I will be competing in the national competition in Winnipeg with people from across Canada. I’m very excited!” she said.
Dakota Miller, final year Hairstyling student from Alliston, Ontario, won silver in the hairstyling competition. Miller completed an updo, textured style, colour and cut within the time limit.
“The competition was very fun and it felt very good to win,” said Miller, who said the medal came with a great sense of personal accomplishment.
Miller hopes to have her own salon one day. After graduation, she will begin an apprenticeship at a salon in her hometown.
“This experience was very good for my hairstyling career and opens a lot of future opportunities for me.”
Niagara Falls resident Selina Carlucci, who recently completed her second year of the College’s Esthetician program and will graduate in June, achieved third place in aesthetics. To compete, she performed treatments including a manicure with nail design, makeup, a body treatment and an advanced facial.
It was her first experience competing and she found it rewarding.
“I didn’t think I was winning a medal,” she said. “This was exciting and meaningful.”
Carlucci hopes to become a spa owner someday.
“Growing up, I always had a passion for the beauty industry … eventually, I would love to open my own place and I know I will,” she said.
“We are very proud of our students for participating in Skills Ontario. It shows the passion and dedication of our students and the excellence of the training they receive in our programs,” said Craig Youdale, Dean of NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies division. “Certainly, having Selina place third is a great achievement and will give her great confidence as she starts her career.”
Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 9,500 students from over 80 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.