So it begins.

by: Adrian

Student Firefighters at Hammarskjold

Well, here we are, three days into the Picture Your Future Tour. We’ve seen the sights, met some nice folks and even lost our way once or twice, but the journey is only just beginning.

The goal of our province-wide excursion is not only to promote the colleges of Ontario, but to encourage youth to have the crucial conversation about their post-secondary future with parents and teachers. We aim to nurture the desire to learn and experience hands-on new things by relaying the importance of considering the options for post-secondary studies. Armed with their aspirations and the right knowledge, these students will soon be ready to set out on the road to success.

It’s incredible how much can be fit into a van with enough determination. When all the gear is unpacked, it looks like enough to fill a UHaul, but we’ve got a system to fit everything together like a  giant game of Tetris. It’s the kind of task that is only possible with a team.

Speaking of teams, it turns out we have good chemistry between us, which makes the job much easier and more enjoyable. Any time a problem is encountered, it’s great to have a group that won’t get angry or argue but rather work patiently together to find a solution.

Thunder Bay was our first stop, where we visited Hammarskjold high school. The shape of the room we’d been assigned to was different than we’d expected, so we had to adapt our setup. We got everything into place in plenty of time with no major problems. The system goes something like this:

  • Students line up and choose a background
  • They pick out a costume and props
  • They pose in front of the green screen
  • We snap a photo and send it to the computer
  • A trade-specific background is edited in
  • The photos are printed on the spot along with a QR code
  • The students can scan the QR code to view the photo online

The school’s drama teacher brought us as many students as she could over the lunch period and they were all thrilled to participate. We had groups of two or three youth for the most part and they certainly enjoyed themselves. There was a girl who wanted to pose with her own welding gear, so she brought it from the metal shop!

Hammarskjold High School has some great programs outside of the traditionally academic streams of secondary education. We saw classrooms dedicated to culinary studies, sewing, metal working and auto mechanics. The students there have a wealth of opportunities to hone their skills in a variety of potential trades. Many of them already seemed to have an idea of what line of work they wanted to pursue after school.

From personal trainers to firefighters, from graphic designers to chefs, Thunder Bay gave us a glimpse of many aspiring tradespeople who came through, put on a smile and pictured their futures.

Setting up at Hammarskjold Green Screen