NC students on the podium at Skills Ontario; faculty member earns alumni award


Flanked by Niagara College’s Jeffrey Murrell, associate dean, School of Trades, left, and professor Joe Abbruscato, coordinator of the Hairstyling program, professor Julia Falvo was photographed with her award for winning the first Skills Ontario alumni award of excellence.

Niagara College students and a faculty member were honoured at the recent Skills Ontario competition in Toronto.

On the podium at the May 1-3 competition in the medals were NC’s Dawsyn Pringle – gold for Hairstyling; Quentin Petkovich – gold for Culinary Arts; Tabitha Kreis – bronze in Baking; and, Jennifer Kenny – bronze in Aesthetics.

The Skills Ontario competition – the largest in Canada – took place at the Toronto Congress Centre and featured 68 skilled trades and technologies contests with 2,300 competitors from elementary schools, high schools and colleges from across Ontario.

At the first Skills Ontario Alumni banquet, Julia Falvo, NC Hairstyling Program faculty member, was recognized for her outstanding work when she was presented with the first-ever Alumni Award of Excellence.

Falvo, the winner of numerous international, national and Skills Ontario competitions over the years (including most recently Progressive Women’s Cut and Style, fifth place, international competition in Seoul, South Korea in 2016), has brought the Skills Ontario competition experience “full circle and has dedicated personal time to work with any interested Niagara College students and trained them to prepare for competing,” said Jeffrey Murrell, NC associate dean, School of Trades.

“This award is important to me because it shows how hard work really does pay off,” said Falvo. “As a professor at Niagara College, I believe it is important to stay involved in everything the industry has to offer.

“Along with the alumni award, I am proud to have mentored Dawsyn. It is great to go back to your roots and give back.”

“Skills Ontario not only raises the level of awareness of the importance of skilled trades in Ontario through this great competition, it also provides an opportunity for students to showcase their work,” said NC president Dan Patterson. “We are proud of all our competitors and the staff and faculty who invest the time, expertise and interest to prepare students for the competition.”

Gary Torraville, associate dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute, also added his congratulations to Institute students Petkovich and Kreis. “Both students exemplify the determination and passion for their craft that helped them succeed.”

Remarking on School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport winners Kenny and Pringle, Damian Goulbourne, associate dean said, “having students use their applied knowledge to accomplish this kind of personal success is very rewarding.”

Gold medalists are also eligible to represent Team Ontario at the Skills Canada National Competition May 31 – June 4 in Winnipeg. Pringle with coach Falvo, and Petkovich, with mentor and chef Olaf Mertens, all from Niagara College, plan to compete at the Nationals.

“Those who compete at the Skills Ontario competition are the future of skilled trades and technologies in Ontario,” said Gail Smyth, Skills Ontario executive director. “Because of the contribution from many industry, education and government partners, Skills Ontario is able to help prepare Ontario’s youth for a highly-skilled workforce of tomorrow.”

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