Making the cut

Amber Nicholson
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Carpentry student sawing his way to national competition

SLEMON PARK - John Kelly has realized the importance of post-secondary education.
Twelve years after graduating from Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Kelly decided to return to school and is now enjoying great success in Holland College's carpentry program.
Winning gold at this year's Provincial Skills Competition earned Kelly a spot at the 16th Canadian Skills Competition in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., May 20 to 23.
"I had never even heard of the competition before," said Kelly. "One of my instructors mentioned it to me and I said, 'Sign me up. I'll try it'."

Holland College Carpentry instructor Ryan Rogerson, left, works with student John Kelly inside a cottage they are building at Slemon Park. Rogerson will be working with Kelly over the next seven months as he prepares for the National Skills Competition in

SLEMON?PARK - John Kelly has realized the importance of post-secondary education.
Twelve years after graduating from Kensington Intermediate Senior High, Kelly decided to return to school and is now enjoying great success in Holland College's carpentry program.
Winning gold at this year's Provincial Skills Competition earned Kelly a spot at the 16th Canadian Skills Competition in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., May 20 to 23.
"I had never even heard of the competition before," said Kelly. "One of my instructors mentioned it to me and I said, 'Sign me up. I'll try it'."
Kelly enrolled in the carpentry program at Holland College in the fall of 2009.
"Grade 12 really doesn't get you anywhere," said Kelly.
Upon graduating high school in 1997, he went directly into the workforce constructing fibreglass boats for Provincial Boat and Marine Ltd. in Kensington. When business slowed down he spent time working in mussel factories. A few years ago, he began work with Carpenters Inc. and set a personal goal to obtain a "Red Seal."
"I chose carpentry because it's a skill that would get me a job on the Island. Somebody always wants a house built," he said.
Kelly also wanted a skill that would not limit him to one Island business. He wanted to learn a trade that would allow him the flexibility to choose a business that's right for him.
Ryan Rogerson is one of Kelly's instructors.
"John is doing an excellent job. It's nice to have someone who is serious about carpentry that wants to take things to the limit," Rogerson said.
He, along with the other two carpentry instructors, will be working closely with Kelly over the next seven weeks to prepare him for the national competition.
Kelly will need to put in many extra hours of training time. The national competition is twice as long and includes a tougher build than the provincial contest.
"If he thinks he's descent now he'll be twice as good when we're done with him," teased Rogerson. "We'll be stepping it up a notch and I think he can handle it."
Rogerson understands firsthand what Kelly is going through. He too competed in skills competitions in 1999 and 2001.
"You're up all night wondering what you're going to be building," said Rogerson. "You flip the blue plan over, your head is spinning, you're nervous, I used to love it."
Rogerson informed Kelly that thousands of spectators would be watching him compete at the national competition.
"Once I get going I'm fine. I'll just do my own thing, keep hammering away at it," Kelly responded.
Kelly is happy with his decision to return to school and is looking forward to graduating in May.

Organizations: Holland College, Provincial Boat and Marine

Geographic location: Kitchener-Waterloo, Kensington

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  • Arthur
    June 21, 2010 - 19:04

    This is a great story. It is people like this student that makes Summerside and area a nice place to live.