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Wolf Creek Public Schools student joins Premier Danielle Smith at 2024 Trades and Technologies Summit

A Lacombe Grade 12 student joined Alberta’s Premier at a summit that highlighted trades and technology in education. 

Sophia Vilcsak, a senior at École Lacombe Composite High School, represented Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) at the College of Alberta School Superintendents’ (CASS) 2024 Trades and Technologies Summit, May 14. Sophia participated in a high-profile panel discussion alongside Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, showcasing her journey and success within the trades education system. This panel was part of the event May 14 and 15 at the NAIT’s Productivity and Innovation Centre in Edmonton, focusing on motivating Alberta’s youth to pursue skilled trades and technologies as viable career paths.

"Sophia’s eloquence and insight provided a vital student perspective on the value of hands-on learning and dual credit programs. Her participation with Premier Smith highlights the significance of our programs at a provincial level and underscores the practical outcomes of our educational approach," said Tim De Ruyck, WCPS Superintendent.

Sophia’s educational path is facilitated through WCPS’s partnership with Careers The Next Generation, which works with Alberta schools to connect students to employers for paid internships. Sophia participated in a millwright CAREERS internship at NOVA chemical. She said the summit is a great opportunity to highlight the pathway trades paved for students. 

“It gives an opportunity to show Alberta's schools how important it is to be informed about these options. It allows kids a better understanding and more knowledge regarding their options,” said Sophie, who was honoured to be part of the panel with the Premier. “It gives me a great opportunity to get out there and allow me to have this on my resume to show future employers how dedicated I am.”

Wolf Creek has additional partnerships such with the newly established Central Alberta Collegiate Institute (CACI), a collaborative initiative between Wolf Creek Public Schools  Chinook's Edge School Division, Red Deer Public Schools, Red Deer Catholic Schools, Olds College, and Red Deer Polytechnic to create unprecedented opportunities for students. 

“Our collaboration with the Central Alberta Collegiate Institute is a cornerstone of our strategy to embed practical trade skills within our academic framework,” said De Ruyck. “This ensures our students are not just future-ready but are ahead of the curve in meeting the demands of today’s industries."

The summit itself, organized by the Trades, Apprenticeship, and Vocational Education (TAVE) Committee of CASS, served as a critical platform for discussions on innovations in trades education, drawing in educators, policymakers, and industry leaders from across the province. WCPS’ active involvement in the summit, through strategic presentations and student showcases, highlighted the district’s leadership in shaping a modern trades education curriculum.

"Our ongoing commitment to enhancing trade and technology pathways reflects our broader educational philosophy,” said De Ruyck. “By providing robust dual credit programs and fostering strong industry partnerships, we empower our students to succeed in high-demand careers. Sophia’s success is a testament to this commitment and sets a remarkable precedent for her peers."


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