A Grade 12 Student at Holy Trinity Academy has earned himself a spot on Team Alberta after winning gold at the Provincial Skills Canada Competition in Edmonton last week.

Matthew MacDonald won gold at the Regional Skills Canada Competition in Calgary last month before moving on to the provincial event last week. He competed in Level 2 IT Office Software Applications, which required an advanced level of processing skills.

"We were competing using Microsoft Office applications so Access, Excel, Word and PowerPoint," MacDonald explains. "We were archiving and retrieving electronic files and manipulating data to create meaningful reports and we were using complex formulas to display how much we knew about those applications."

This year, Holy Trinity Academy Students competed in the categories of cabinet making, carpentry, graphic design, IT software applications and public speaking. MacDonald's golden win at provincials is the first time a student from HTA has moved on to compete at the national level.

MacDonald says making his way on to the stage to claim his gold medal was a memorable experience.

"I was pretty ecstatic," he says. "I was overcome with emotion at that moment and it was just an awesome experience to be able to run up on stage and receive a medal in front of the crowd with everyone cheering."

MacDonald competed against 10 other students at the high school level at the provincial competition. He said the experience brought rewards that extend beyond the skills aspect of the competition.

"I really think that through doing these competitions, I've developed a bit more self confidence, not just in my particular skill but in general," he says. "I know that I can be successful, I've just got to put my mind to it and work hard."

The National Skills Canada Competition will take place in Winnipeg from May 31 to June 3. MacDonald will be in the company of about 550 other students, from throughout Canada, who have won gold in various skills categories. Although he feels confident heading into the next level of competition, MacDonald says he'll spend some time getting his skills in shape for Nationals, under the guidance of information processing teacher Louise Niven.

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