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Renowned photojournalist Juste to speak at Okanagan College

Internationally-acclaimed photojournalist Carl Juste has spent three decades bringing into focus the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and abroad. Next week he’ll speak about his life behind the lens in a free lecture at Okanagan College.

carl juste web photo

After fleeing his homeland under threat of persecution, Haitian-born Juste and his politically active family settled in Miami’s Haitian community in 1965. He won a scholarship to the University of Miami, and although he initially intended to become an engineer, the call of his inner voice as a photographer was one that could not be silenced.

“I must fight with every breath to breathe life into my art, to bear witness not only through the camera, but through my eye,” says Juste. “It is that pursuit which keeps photojournalism alive.”

Event Details:

Who: Photojournalist Carl Juste
When: 6 p.m., Thursday, April 6, 2017
Where: Lecture Theatre, Okanagan College, 1000 K. L. O. Rd, Kelowna, BC
What: Free lecture, photo op

Juste has pursued photojournalism all his adult life, and since 1991 has served his community through his work at the Miami Herald. His long-term projects include “Lost in America,” a comprehensive piece on the INS, the United States’ Immigration and Naturalization Service (now known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), which oversees entry into the U.S. and citizenship processes for foreign born persons. 

His project “Haiti: A Nation in Turmoil,” is an ongoing professional and personal project documenting the struggles of Haitians in the U.S. and around the world. 

In his lecture at Okanagan College entitled “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Requiem for a Life in Photojournalism,” Juste will share stories from his life in the field. He will also explore how photojournalism continues to cast a light on the struggles of those experiencing racial, social, political and economic oppression while photojournalists like himself face the same struggles.

“So many have chosen to treat it as if it’s a dying art, but photojournalism lives and flourishes in places where it is most needed,” explains Juste.

“Carl Juste’s passion for his activism and his art is unparalleled,” says Jillian Garrett, a professor of Communication at Okanagan College. “He brings ideals and ideas that will inspire the listener – from the importance of community, to the ability to engage critically and thoughtfully with the world around us, to the desire to greet each day with passion and a sense of purpose.”

“Given the amount of discord and turmoil that exists in the world, voices like Carl’s that speak for truth and social justice are more important than ever.”

Juste has received numerous awards for his work from Pictures of the Year, Society for News Design, Best of Photojournalism and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.



SFU professor sounds alarm on danger of toxins to children’s brain development


Can the pesticides on your lawn and flame-resistant baby clothing cause ADHD and autism in children?

According to environmental-health expert Dr. Bruce Lanphear, even exceedingly low-level exposures to toxic chemicals can contribute to premature births, intellectual disabilities and behavioural problems.  

Lanphear will reveal key aspects of the research supporting the link between widespread exposures to toxic chemicals and childhood disorders in a public talk at Okanagan College.  

lanphear web

The presentation will take place in the lecture theatre of the College’s Vernon campus on Thursday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Lanphear’s talk, entitled “Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxic Chemicals on the Developing Brain,” is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

Lanphear will explain how harmful chemicals, such as lead, tobacco, pesticides and flame retardants, impact brain development and will share insight into preventable brain-based disorders in the early development of children. 

He will also discuss the pandemic of consumption - the largely preventable, worldwide epidemic of chronic disease and disability in society due to widespread exposures to industrial pollutants, toxic chemicals and excess consumption. 

“The impact of toxic chemicals is usually subtle for an individual child, but it can be substantial at the population level,” asserts Lanphear. “Too little has been done to protect children from these ubiquitous, but insidious, toxins.”

Lanphear, MD, MPH, is a clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children’s Hospital and professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. His primary goal is to help quantify and ultimately prevent disease and disability due to exposures to environmental contaminants and pollutants. 

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.


College program brings training within reach for Princeton students
Okanagan College Media Release


Aging populations and retirements among baby boomer health care workers could spell a shortage of Health Care Assistants (HCAs) in many B.C. communities over the next decade. A special one-time intake of Okanagan College’s HCA program completed in Princeton recently and is already opening doors to health care careers for students in that community.HCA students Princeton March 2017

Natasha Smith has dreamt of a career in health care for more than fifteen years. On March 16, she became one of eight students to complete the program in Princeton.

A mother of three school-aged children, Smith says the hour-plus commute to the Okanagan College’s Penticton campus where the program is also offered, is not feasible for her. So when she learned the College would be offering an intake of its HCA program right in her hometown, she jumped at the chance.

“Being able to attend classes and secure practicum placements in Princeton made all the difference,” says Smith. “It brought the training within reach for me, and at a time when there is such a need for HCAs.”

The intake in Princeton came about as a result of extensive input from the community and support from the Ministry of Advanced Education.

“There are shortages of trained health care workers in small rural communities,” explains Angela Godler, Chair of the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College. “Being able to offer the HCA training within those communities is of immense benefit to students, employers and ultimately those receiving care.”

The College’s HCA program is 25 weeks in length and includes a combination of theory classes and an eight-week clinical practicum, covering areas of complex care, home support/assisted living and dementia care, and acute care.

Striking the right blend of classroom learning and practical experience is critical, says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College.

“Given the diversity of care situations HCAs face in their day-to-day work, there needs to be an extensive amount of hands-on experience in real-life environments,” says Moritz. “We deeply appreciate the way the Ministry of Advanced Education, Interior Health and the community of Princeton have supported this intake and helped us enrich the learning experience for students.”

The class completed practicum placements with Ridgewood Lodge, Orchard Haven and Princeton Community Services.

“I loved every aspect of the program, but especially the practical element,” adds Smith. “It boosted my confidence and confirmed for me that this is what I want to do. I can’t wait to get out into the industry and start working now.”

Princeton isn’t the only centre feeling the pinch when it comes to HCAs. The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, released in 2014, listed Health Care Assistants as one of the top priority health professions in need of replenishment over the next five to 10 years.

Students are already reaping the benefits.

According to recent B.C. Student Outcomes data, 97 per cent of graduates from the College’s program are in the labour force, making an average hourly wage of $19. 

More information about the HCA program at Okanagan College is available at


OC Culinary Arts alumnus cooks his way to a spot at Atelier
Okanagan College Media Release

Carson Bibby March 2017Carson Bibby was only 16-years-old when he first had the opportunity to cook alongside some of Canada’s finest chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships’ Gold Medal Plates finale. A year later and another Gold Medal Plates experience under his belt, the young OC Culinary Arts alumnus’ skills have earned him a job at one of Canada’s most acclaimed restaurants.

Bibby is now a chef de partie at Atelier, an upmarket Ottawa eatery known for its hypermodern style and 12-course tasting menu prepared using the latest techniques in molecular gastronomy. Working under the watchful eye of award-winning Executive Chef Marc Lepine, Bibby is among the top culinary hands crafting an adventurous dining experience that is rarely the same from one night to another.

Bibby served as a sous-chef to Lepine two years running at Gold Medal Plates (Lepine won in 2016), a one-of-a-kind learning experience afforded to OC culinary arts students. This past February, at the conclusion of the event, Lepine made the young chef an offer he couldn’t refuse – a spot in the kitchen at Atelier.

“I was floored by the offer,” says Bibby, who moved to the Okanagan at age nine. “The opportunity to observe and support Chef Lepine at Gold Medal Plates was incredible. I was flattered and honoured that he wanted me to come and work with him.”

Now living Ottawa, Bibby has been working at Atelier for a few weeks. Between moving across Canada and starting work in one of the country’s most unique kitchens, he acknowledges it’s been a whirlwind month.

“I still have a lot to learn,” says Bibby. “It’s a very different kitchen than any I’ve experienced. Every technique, every dish is next-level.”

Bibby credits the dual-credit Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College with helping him build the technical skills he needed to get noticed. The 40-week program is one of more than a dozen offered at the College in partnership with local school districts. The programs are designed to give high school students a chance to get a head start on a career by earning post-secondary credentials while still competing high school.

“OC gave me a really solid foundation of skills and techniques that I knew I would need if I was going to get to a higher level,” says Bibby. “The instructors have a lot of experience and give you a window into what you can expect in the industry.”

The young chef-in-training acknowledges two other important role models in the culinary world.

“Both my father and grandfather reached the level of Gold Seal Chefs,” explains Bibby. “They definitely inspired me to pursue culinary school and pursue this as a career.”

“We couldn’t be prouder of Carson,” says Chef Bernard Casavant, Culinary Manager at Okanagan College. “Our Culinary Arts alumni can be found in top kitchens all over the world and he is an example of one who has managed to open the door to an opportunity, and seize it, through hard work and dedication.”

And while Bibby plans to continue his formal culinary training in the future, those plans are on simmer for a moment. For now, he’s enjoying the challenge of his new position.

“We’re always trying new things, so I get to learn something different every day,” says Bibby. “It’s been a wonderful and unique learning experience so far.”

More information about Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts programs can be found at


Anosh Irani reads at Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus

irani webInternationally-renowned author Anosh Irani will visit Okanagan College on Friday to read from his latest work, which has already garnered numerous award nominations.

Irani will speak in the Student Lounge at the Salmon Arm campus from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, March 24. He will read from his new novel, The Parcel, which was recently a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award.

Event Details:
Who: Anosh Irani, author and playwright
When: 7 – 9 p.m., Friday, March 24
Where: Student Lounge, Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave NE, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 2S4
What: Book reading, photo op, interview opportunity 

Irani has published three critically acclaimed novels: The Cripple and His Talismans, a national bestseller; The Song of Kahunsha, which was an international bestseller and was shortlisted for Canada Reads and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize; and Dahanu Road, which was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize.

His play Bombay Black won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and his anthology The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. His work has been translated into 11 languages. His new novel, The Parcel, is published by Knopf. It was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Irani lives in Vancouver and is currently on a tour of the interior. His stop at Okanagan College is part of the College’s Shuswap BookFest initiative. Learn more on the Facebook page.

For more information, please call 250-832-2126 or email

Lumby team crowned 2017 Spaghetti Bridge champions
Okanagan College Media Release

SB 2017 Dessert RiddickThe 34
th annual Spaghetti Bridge competition came to a dramatic close today after a duo from Charles Bloom Secondary in Lumby tested their bridge to the point of fail, smashing the competition with a pasta structure that withstood 255.06 kg of load before shattering.

The first-place winning team of Justin Dessert and Hanya Riddick took home the top cash prize of $1,500. The second place bridge was built by James Dessert, also of Lumby, and it held 207.29 kg of load and earned him a cash prize of $1,000.SB 2017 James Dessert

A team of students from UBC Okanagan finished third in the contest, which was postponed after technical difficulties prevented the judges from testing the heavyweight bridges at the initial competition on March 3. Ephraim Nowak and Raphael Nowak built a bridge that failed under 120.58 kg of load.

SB 2017 Nowak“We were extremely pleased to recognize today’s competitors and be able to declare winners in the 2017 competition,” said event organizer Michelle Lowry. “We really appreciate the students’ patience while we worked to resolve our testing issues and are aware of just how much work goes into building these great bridges.”

In order to qualify for the competition, the bridges could not weigh more than 1 kg prior to testing.

Fourth place was not awarded, as the other bridge tested did not meet the minimum threshold of 10 kg of load.

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Construction, Okanagan College Students’ Union, OP Machine Ltd., WSP Group.


Business students shine at WCBC
Okanagan College Media Release

WCB Junior Team March 2017Two individual students and a team from Okanagan College were recognized at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with running a simulated business scenario – exploring everything from marketing to HR – over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. First-, second- and third-year business students compete at the junior level, while fourth-year students compete as seniors.

At the junior level, the host team from Okanagan College finished second to Capilano University, while College of New Caledonia came third. Capilano was also victorious at the senior level, besting teams from (second-place) Medicine Hat College and (third-place) McMaster University.

“Our team is so proud of the way we worked together and supported one another in the decision making process throughout the competition,” says Loni Johnson, a member of the College’s Junior team and a second-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree student at the Kelowna campus.

“We prepared for more than six weeks,” explains Johnson. “So there has been a huge amount of collaboration and growing together as a team. We also received incredible support from our coaches throughout all that time, which helped us feel ready when the competition began.”

The junior team from OC comprised of Lathan McKinney, Loni Johnson, Mindy Strugnell and Charles Sherman was coached by Okanagan College School of Business professors Scott Overland and Dan Allen.

“It is a privilege to witness Okanagan College students competing in, and professors and employees organizing, such a professional and well-run business competition,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the College’s School of Business. “In addition to competing at a high level, the teams from Okanagan College were gracious hosts and showcased their skills as they applied their education for which our College and School of Business are renowned. All of the feedback we received confirmed it was a rewarding experience for participants.”

It proved to be a memorable weekend indeed for Johnson and her teammate and fellow first-time competitor Mindy Strugnell. In recognition for their contributions, which helped propel the College’s team to a second place showing, Johnson and Strugnell were presented with the VP Operations Award and the VP HR Award, respectively.

“We couldn’t believe it when the awards were announced,” said Johnson. “As first-time competitors, I think we were both a little shocked. I definitely came away inspired to compete again.”

WCBC has been running for almost three decades. The College has hosted for the past six years. 2017 sponsors included Shaw, Interior Savings and CIBC.

According to Dr. Lynn Sparling, one of organizers for WCBC, support from the business community once again played an important role in the event’s success.

“In addition to the wonderful financial support needed to put on an event of this scale, the local business community really stepped up again in lending their time and expertise to students,” says Sparling, who teaches with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We had 11 judges from the community who volunteered for three days. That feedback from industry professionals really elevates the competition and enriches the learning experience for students.”

For more information about WCBC, go to


OC Campus Relay paves way for alumnus’ running career
Okanagan College Media Release


For Jeff Vogt, the starting line for two big passions in life – becoming an electrician and taking up running – began at Okanagan College.Jeff Vogt OC Half

Vogt, an alumni of the Electrical program, became an avid runner after first trying the Okanagan College half marathon relay in 2009. He has returned to the race each year to be a part of the feel-good event that raises scholarship funds to support student bursaries.

For Vogt, the relay race was the catalyst for his journey to become a runner.

When friends asked him join their relay team for the race, which was only a week away, he thought they were joking. With encouragement from his team and a few practice runs that week, he agreed.

“My first reaction was that I can’t run in this race. I don’t run,” recalls Vogt. “I was so inexperienced, but I completed my relay leg. The race showed me that my fitness wasn’t where I wanted it to be and watching the half marathon finishers that day I saw what I could achieve.”

Inspired to make a change, Vogt immediately started running every other day to improve his fitness levels.

He quickly advanced to the longer distances the race offers – completing both the 10 K race as well as the half marathon distance. He joined the Kelowna Running Club, where he learned proper training techniques to increase performance and reduce injury. In 2014 he placed third overall in the half marathon distance and came back in 2015 to take a silver medal.

After completing two marathons in 2016, Vogt is looking forward to returning to campus for the half marathon in 2017.

“Everyone has to start somewhere and the relay was my gateway to running, which has become a way of life for me. It’s a really accessible distance for people of different fitness levels and fun to be part of a team effort.”

This year’s race takes place Sunday, April 9 at the Kelowna campus and runners can choose from three different distances: Half Marathon (21.1 K), 10 K and Relay Race (21.1 K, divided by up to five runners.) 

“I love to see runners like Jeff come back year after year,” says Race Director Christine Ulmer. “I was there the first year when he crossed the finish line and have watched him improve to become a contender in all of the distances. He is running fast but more importantly, he is having a great time and encouraging others to get involved – and that’s what this race is all about.”

Following their finish, runners join in the post-race festivities in the Centre for Learning. This year’s highlights include the awards ceremony, a candy bar and delicious creations made by the College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts students. Prize money will be presented to the top three runners in the male and female divisions of the Half Marathon.

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit:


Shorthanded OC team comes out on top at HRC West
Okanagan College Media Release

HRC March 2017A dynamic duo of two Okanagan College students topped the podium at one of Western Canada’s most prestigious HR case competitions over the weekend.

Christie Klein and Adrianna Knuth took first place at the HRC West competition held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond on March 4. Their win marked the first victory for an Okanagan College team at the event, now in its fourth year.

The victory was all the more impressive due to the fact that Klein and Knuth were forced to compete as a pair when a family emergency prompted their teammate to drop out of the competition only two days prior to the event. The other 14 schools at the event fielded a full team of three competitors plus an alternate.

“Having an added element of adversity really brought us together as a team,” explains Knuth. “We focused on the task at hand and took a lot of confidence from the incredible support of our coaches, and the preparation we had put in over the past few months.”

The way in which the pair rose to the challenge was a source of pride for their coaches Laura Thurnheer and Roger Wheeler, both professors with the Okanagan College School of Business.

“We are extra proud of this team for the way they handled adversity,” says Wheeler. “The extra workload shouldered by Adrianna and Christie was significant and they did more than persevere, they flourished.”

Adding to the challenge of the already fast-paced event was the fact that the team from OC was randomly selected to return to stage to present first in the final round, immediately following the announcement of the final four.

“We literally had minutes to mentally prepare before heading on stage,” explains Klein. “Which was great in a way, in that we didn’t have time to get nervous or overthink our presentation.”

Klein admits that while she and her teammate were calm on stage, emotions ran high when the team from OC was declared the winner.

“When the results were announced, it was pure relief and elation,” says Klein. “We were both so proud to have represented the College, our program, and ourselves so well at such a high-level competition.”

The third time was the charm for Okanagan College at HRC West. This year’s victory builds on a second-place finish last year and a third-place finish the year before.

For their victory, the team received $1500 and student passes to HRMA’s POWER UP Conference and Tradeshow in Vancouver on May 2-3.

Both Klein and Knuth are poised to graduate this year, Klein with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree - Human Resources specialty and Knuth with a BBA Hons. degree - Human Resources specialty and a minor in Communications (which she is on track to complete in just three years), along with a Business Administration diploma specializing in Management.

HRC West is the first business case competition in western Canada dedicated entirely to Human Resources. It was launched in response to a gap in practical learning opportunities for post-secondary students specializing in HR.

Learn more about HRC West at


Western Canada gold advances three OC teams to Enactus Nationals

Team OC 2017Thirteen students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team will be a whole lot busier this semester as they prepare to take on the rest of the country in Vancouver in May after notching three first-place finishes at the Regional Western Canada Enactus Exposition in Calgary last weekend.

The team from OC came first in Financial Education, Entrepreneurship, and Youth Empowerment, as well as third in Ecoliving Green. The four podium finishes earned the team $5,000 in cash prizes and three berths to the National Exposition on May 9 – 11.

The four teams are made up of students from Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. They represent a much larger contingent of students who deliver community-based projects through Enactus Okanagan College.

“This is an absolutely fantastic result for our students,” said Roy Daykin, Vice President of Employee and Corporate Services, who was present at the competition to support the team. “We know first-hand the impact our students have in our community based on the quality of the work they do on projects like CANSave and Silver Surfers but to be recognized at this competition validates just how relevant their work is.”

Five Kelowna students won the Capital One Financial Education challenge after impressing the judges with their award-winning project CANSave. The project, which teaches financial literacy skills to elementary students, began in Kelowna last year and has since spread to 80 communities across the country, impacting more than 6,000 students. Last month CANSave’s founder Abbey Jones was recognized with the first BC Social Innovation Youth Award for her work on the project. In addition to Jones, team members included Daniel Alfred, Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau.

Dr. Kyleen Myrah is no stranger to coaching Enactus students to the podium—her team of students won the TD Entrepreneurship challenge based on the work they have done in Kelowna with the Silver Surfers program. The innovative program pairs OC students with seniors living in retirement facilities and provides training on the use of technology and devices such as the iPad. The program’s goal is to help seniors connect with loved ones and helps reduce the communication barriers and isolation. The team was made up of Meaghan Barnard, Zabrina Semchuk, Cameron Starcheski, and Rebecca Alfred.

"To achieve four podium finishes at the Regional Enactus competition, including three first-place wins, is an incredible testament to the quality of our students and the community outreach projects they are engaged in," said Myrah. "We can't wait to showcase our community impact at the National exposition in May in Vancouver, and are so appreciative of the support we get from our institution and our community."

Enactus Okanagan College also won first in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge after presenting on the impact of the CANSave project. The Vernon-based team was made up of Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

“Regionals showed me Enactus goes beyond my college, beyond B.C. even,” said Christianne Edblad. “The fact that OC students are spending hours and hours of our time to make the world a better place is beyond me. These are the quality of people I want to surround myself with and this is why I love competitions.”

In the Scotiabank Ecoliving Green challenge Okanagan College finished third after presenting on their Penticton project Healthy Housing and their Trash Talk initiative in Kelowna. The team consisted of one student from Penticton, Meghan Steele, and three from Kelowna: Millanne Desfosses, Jamie Park, and Bliss Ducharme. They are coached by Dr. Sheilagh Seaton.

With the wins, Enactus Okanagan College took home three cash awards of $1,500 and one award of $500. They also earned three berths to the national competition for their first-place finishes. 

College offers accelerated training opportunity for Electricians
Okanagan College Media Release

Electrical Lab March 2017An innovative apprenticeship program piloting at Okanagan College this month aims to help Electricians reduce time away from work and home while training. 

The Electrician Apprenticeship Level I Blended Program is a new 17-week program that will deliver training through a combination of on-campus and online learning. The online component will cut in-class training time in half. Apprentices in the blended program will spend five weeks on campus, as opposed to ten weeks in a traditional program.

Carlo Langlois will be among the first students to step into blended program on March 27.

“The blended format really makes a lot of sense to me,” says Langlois. “Five weeks away from work is easier on the wallet than ten. I have a young family to support so I’m excited about the prospect of fast-paced training so I can get back to work as quick as possible.”

The program runs March 27 to July 21 at the Kelowna campus. It will be based out of the College’s new state-of-the-art electrical labs, which officially opened last fall.

“This new program offers apprentices the best of both worlds,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “They get the convenience of learning some of the theoretical principles online, and then they can step into the lab to get hands on training with our instructors and the latest equipment.”Electrical Student March 2017

The College received a grant of $218,000 from the B.C. government in December to power up the innovative pilot. The funding comes as part of the joint effort by the province, the ITA and post-secondary institutions to provide more flexible training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allows apprentices to maximize their earning potential while in school.

“The program has been designed with the apprentice and the employer in mind,” explains Moores. “We’re always endeavoring to be even more responsive to the needs of industry. With this pilot, we want to help apprentices tap into great training and then get back out into the workforce as soon as possible.”

In order to enrol in the program, potential students must be working in the trade and have registered with the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

More information is available at


Heavyweight competition on simmer for Spaghetti Bridge

More than 300 students from across the Okanagan paraded their pasta structures on stage today at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus for the 34th annual Spaghetti Bridge contest.

spaghetti bridge 2017 web

Students from elementary to post-secondary brought their engineering skills to a boil and constructed bridges of spaghetti, lasagna noodles and glue that were put to the test in one of four categories.

This year, the highly anticipated Heavyweight competition suffered a setback when the Fettuccine Fault Line (a hydraulic machine that places load on the bridges to test their capacity) malfunctioned, forcing organizers to postpone the event. With $1,500 of prize money on the line, the event organizers admit postponing the Heavyweight category was a difficult decision, but the right one.

“Rescheduling is disappointing, but the integrity of the competition must be held to the highest standard,” says head judge Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education for the College. “It’s important for the students to know their hard work is taken seriously, so we must ensure their bridges are tested accurately using the proper equipment.”

The testing equipment is being analyzed and repaired, and all five competitors will be invited back to the College to battle for top honours in the Heavyweight category.

The other competitions do not use the same testing equipment and were carried out without a hitch.

In the ASTTBC Secondary Competition category, in which students pre-build bridges for on-site testing, two brothers from Charles Bloom in Lumby swept the top two spots, with third place going to students from KLO Middle.

In the ASTTBC Team Building Secondary Competition, students battled the clock to build bridges on site and under pressure. The winners of that contest were from King’s Christian School in Salmon Arm. Second place went to KLO Middle and Constable Neil Bruce Middle finished third. 

Five teams participated in the ASTTBC Team Building Post-Secondary Competition and Okanagan College students Raelyn Guenther, Megan Roeske, Darren Joyce, and Brett Siebert were the lone victors, taking first place with the only bridge entry that passed the testing requirements.

“Today’s competition was packed with energy and enthusiasm,” says Hay. “I was impressed by the bridges I saw today and that is a testament to the efforts of these talented students.”

Prize money for the event is generously provided by the event’s sponsors: the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC), PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., Okanagan College Students’ Union, Multi Power Products, AECOM, OP Machine Ltd., Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEG), WSP Group, and Interior Testing Services Ltd.

Complete Results


Heavyweight Competition

Competition postponed due to technical issues.


ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Post-Secondary

First – Raelyn Guenther, Megan Roeske, Darren Joyce, and Brett Siebert (Okanagan College)


ASTTBC Team Building Competition, Secondary

First – Daniel Stalker and Joshua Greencorn (King’s Christian)

Second – Oliver Cole, Jackson Rosco, Jacob Tizel, Arne Gairdner-Loe (KLO Middle)

Third- Alex Whitt, Jaden Seniuk, Ben Parker, Mitch Harris (Constable Neil Bruce Middle)


ASTTBC Secondary Competition

First – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Second– James Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary)

Third – Jordan Wiseman (KLO Middle)

Fourth – James Birnie and Ken Flores (KLO Middle)

Fifth – Nicholas Mitchell (KLO Middle)