If we’re talking Formula 1 racing, Marco Di Franco is all about Ferrari. But when it comes to an everyday exotic car, Mercedes takes first place.
“It’s an amazing brand I’ve always looked up to,” the Grade 11 St. John Henry Newman Catholic Secondary School student said. “They make some of the most high performance, luxurious cars ever made. It’s a company you strive to buy a car from.”
Thanks to a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program Di Franco is enrolled in with the school, he has been able to get up close and personal with his car muse.
This past semester, Di Franco has headed out daily to Mercedes-Benz in Burlington where he works alongside technicians to diagnose and repair cars that come into the service center.
“I’ve learned more than I’ve ever expected,” he said, adding that he originally thought he was going to do more watching than hands-on learning.
With certified mechanics overseeing his co-op, Di Franco has learned to balance and mount tires, add fluid to vehicles, check air pressure, and assist with pre delivery inspections.
“You can’t do this online,” said Di Franco, who added that he’s not only happy to be back in the classroom, but able to partake in these programs so he can get firsthand experience – which is a major benefit of the SHSM program.
Offered at every secondary school, the program is designed to allow students to experience a range of customized, career-focused learning opportunities while working towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
For Madison Gallant, partaking in the SHSM Health and Wellness Program has acted as a stepping stone to her eventual dream career as a firefighter.
The Grade 12 student from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School has just finished wrapping up placement at Medical First Response.
“I chose this placement as it is the best place to be if you want to become a first responder in the future.”
Her co-op, which changes daily between in-house training/theory and hands-on learning, intentionally mimics the fast-paced environment of the field.
“You must be ready to do whatever it takes to make sure all the people on the scene are safe,” she said. A part of that is ensuring you’re communicating with your team effectively, she added.
In these high-stress emergency situations, every second counts.
In September, Gallant will be attending Lambton College Pre-service Firefighting where she hopes to follow in her stepfather's footsteps.
“I have always appreciated and admired those who put their lives on the line to protect our communities. Watching my stepfather has been amazing. I would do anything to be in his shoes, as he is a great firefighter and will do anything for those in danger. I hope to be as good as him one day.”
“I also know for many young girls it is difficult as people often say it is a male-dominated job. I hope in the future I can change that and help young girls that want to be firefighters get there.”
Across the city at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary school, Olivia Presti also has big dreams.
The Grade 11 student did her co-op first semester at Sinking Ship Entertainment, a Canadian-based production, distribution and interactive company that specializes in kids' live-action CGI blended series.
“I chose to do my co-op with Sinking Ship Entertainment as I worked for them previously as a lead actress on the television show ‘Odd Squad.’”
This time around, however, she was on the other side of the camera, researching current and up-and-coming shows, editing proposals and observing the production process.
“I think the most interesting part of this co-op for me was just learning what it was like to be a part of a real production team and the ins-and-outs of how they operate daily. It was amazing to see all the show's writers and editors come together in a few online meetings to make sense of the logistics of filming and creating.”
“I definitely would love to continue in the field further down the line."
“My current goal is to be a director or editor and just have a place creating entertainment on a larger scale. I tend to do a lot of video and design work for my community but deepening that skill and doing it for a production would be incredible, even if I can continue once again as an actor.”
“I am very grateful that they offered me this opportunity because it gave me more insight into my own future goals and plans.”
Interested in how an SHSM program can help elevate your academic career? Click here to learn more: https://www.hwcdsb.ca/338342--Secondary-st ...