Lacombe is now home to two of the most highly skilled Grade 12 students in the country after Lacombe Composite High School students Ben Rainforth and Camryn Grant took home gold at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax, NS.
Grant took home the gold in photography — representing Team Alberta in the process.
“A lot of it was the same as Provincials,” she said. “They do raise the bar and expect that you are at the national level. They expect a lot more from you and the rules were a lot more strict.”
Grant said she did not expect to win the prestigious award.
“I am still really shocked and I am still happy,” she said. “As soon as I got off the stage I had to call my mom and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh mom. I just won’. It was shaking and there was some happy tears.
“It felt really good to represent Alberta and to know that I did well for my province and my school as well.”
There is, unfortunately, no Worlds competition for high school, but Grant is considering doing the competition again in post secondary
“Originally I wasn’t going to but now I know that I can do it and I am thinking about that,” she said.
Grant doesn’t intend to pursue photography full time, but says she will continue to do it on the side.
“I have been asked already to do a bunch of Grad photos and a company asked me to do some portfolio photos,” she said. “I have also been asked to do some pro-bull riding photos here in Lacombe. People have noticed that I am a photographer.”
Rainforth, who won gold in welding, said the experience in Halifax was a crazy one.
“I got a free vacation and got to enjoy all the sights in Halifax. All of the trades there was cool to see,” he said. “Going in I had no clue what was going to happen. After the first day, I was one of the last ones and I got to look at everything pretty quickly and I knew I would be in the Top 4
“After the second day, it was Top 2 for sure. I had an idea, but it is all up to the judges.”
Rainforth said winning still doesn’t feel real.
“Going from doing something I love to being able to go to the other side of the country to do it is cool and then to win is crazy,” she said.
Getting to know some of the other competitors was a highlight for Rainforth.
“Obviously when you are at a competition it is hard to talk to the other guys because you don’t want to say too much,” he said. “I did talk to a few of them and when you get the best from each province, they are a good group of people.”
Rainforth is currently in his first year of welding at Red Deer College and intends to stay in the program for the total three years.
He added he wants to give, “A big thank you to everyone who helped me through. I had a lot of support getting here from teachers, parents and family.”