CORNWALL, Ontario -Allison Geneau won a bronze at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition, but for her it was just like gold.
The 18-year-old Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS) student was one of three from the Upper Canada District School Board who medalled at the 25th annual competition, held May 5-7 at RIM Park in Waterloo. The daughter of Tracy Massia and Yvonn Geneau took third in the baking category. CCVS student Cassie Redstar won gold in aesthetics, while Glengarry District High School student Cole Bennett-Tessier won silver in auto service.
Geneau said she was overwhelmed by the medal.
“It was honestly the greatest thing in the world,” said Geneau. “I couldn’t even believe it. When I saw my name, I just went crazy. I jumped up and down. Everyone else who went to the stage to get their medal walked. I was running.”
Geneau won the medal in a competition in which contestants were required to make everything from a free-form loaf of bread to choux pastry. While some may have been stressed, Geneau went into what an athlete would call “the zone” as the stress melted away, distractions faded and she focussed on the task at hand. The competition tested her ability to make the loaf of bread, a baguette, three different kinds of dinner rolls, a lemon-meringue pie, and swan-shaped choux pastry.
The Grade 12 student, who like many her age is taking a fifth year of high school to allow her time to focus on career options, says what set her apart was her attention to detail.
“I’m a perfectionist,” she explained of her success. “I love making things, but everything has to be perfect.”
She added she was also motivated by her culinary teacher at CCVS – Chef John Ciampaglia.
“I really wanted to make him proud of me,” said Geneau. “I’m in “Grade 13” and I’ve been in his class for three years. I always wanted to show him that I am capable of doing something really great and by getting the bronze I was able to go back to him and tell him that he taught me how to be this good.”
Geneau will study baking at Algonquin College next year and hopes to eventually open her own bakery.
Redstar topped all competitors by taking gold at the competition. The event tested her ability to perform a manicure, a facial, and a pedicure, to apply make-up and complete an interview.
The 17-year-old Grade 12 student said she began doing hair and make-up as a hobby and a natural interest in aesthetics helped her achieve gold-medal status.
Redstar hopes to study nursing in future.
Cole Bennett-Tessier, 17, a Grade 12 student at Glengarry District High School, won silver in the auto service category.
“It was really exciting and it wasn’t quite what I expected,” he said. “I knew I did well but I didn’t think I did that well.”
Bennett-Tessier earned the medal after undergoing a seven-hour evaluation, which included a test to ensure a car that wasn’t running would start, a wiring test, a brake test, a piston test, a written test and a job interview.
He hopes to attend Canadore College in North Bay next year for aircraft maintenance engineering.