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Student takes gold at Skills Olympics
Tamara Lafferty on top after a variety of contests

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Monday, January 20, 2014

Tamara Lafferty is a busy young woman. The Grade 9 student at Deninu School in Fort Resolution balances schoolwork and an after school job, while still finding time to participate in activities she hopes will lead to career options in the future.

NNSL photo/graphic

Tamara Lafferty, Grade 9 student at Deninu School in Fort Resolution, participates in an electrician program at the Trades Awareness Program (TAP) at Aurora College's Fort Smith campus in September. Lafferty went on to win gold during the program's Skills Olympics component. - photo courtesy of Alexandra Bond

Lafferty recently won a gold medal during the Skills Olympics component at the Trades Awareness Program (TAP) at Aurora College in Fort Smith in December.

TAP, a two-part program, saw participants spend four days last September learning about a variety of trades. In December, the college held the intensive program, which gave students an opportunity to focus on their favourite trade.

Participants in the Skills Olympics had to perform a variety of timed activities, such as trying to put a ball in a can using only their knees to carry it through the course. Other events included ring toss and a competition to see who could hammer a nail into a block of wood the fastest.

Lafferty beat all other competitors to take home the gold.

She said while she enjoyed learning about the different trades, she chose cooking as her trade for the intensive program.

Lafferty said she enjoyed being able to learn skills hands-on. Students who chose cooking made lunch for all the participants and Lafferty said she learned how to make lasagna and lemon meringue pie.

"We just cooked for when we had lunch," she said.

"It was for everyone that was there."

Students who participate in TAP earn high school credits toward their high school diplomas and Lafferty said that's what initially sparked her interest.

But, she said, there were some unexpected bonuses as well.

"I made new friends."

In addition to learning about a possible career in trades, Lafferty has spent the last three years as a member of the Junior Canadian Rangers. She said that activity keeps her busy, as well. Every year, the rangers hold a camp in Whitehorse, which Lafferty said she looks forward to all year.

"We get to go to Whitehorse to try some new things," she said.

"I like rock climbing and seeing new friends and the mountains."

Lafferty said rangers' activities in Fort Resolution are also fun.

"We do some practice shooting, we do some scavenger hunts and we sit around a fire," she said.

"The next day, sometimes, we go out and take turns buffalo hunting."

Hunting is another of her favourite activities, and Lafferty said she never misses a chance to visit her family's cabin outside of town.

She said helping with the bison hunt is one of the best parts about being on the land.

"I sometimes help skin them," she said.

Lafferty said her job at the Northern Store is also teaching her new skills.

She works a cash register and helps make sure the store's shelves are properly stocked.

She said it can sometimes be a challenge to keep up with school while working her part-time job, but she is developing ways to make sure she doesn't fall behind.

"I get my [school] work done before I go to work," she said.

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