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Germany-bound student’s skills are ‘sehr gut’

Graphic communications and print technology student Marissa Halter

Graphic communications and print technology student Marissa Halter will be competing in the Print Media Technology division at the 2013 World Skills competition in Leipzig, Germany this July. Jenn Sieppert photo

Marissa Halter said she was never going to do this again. The graphic communication and print technology student was ready to throw in the towel at the provincial skills championship in print media technology, thankfully she didn’t, and wound up taking home first prize.

Halter managed to advance to the national skills championship where again, Halter told her coach she couldn’t bear the pressure. Yet pressure or no pressure, she won anyway.

“There was just so much pressure that I wasn’t ready for,” she explained. Not knowing what to expect and being watched intensely by a panel of judges were obstacles that she managed to defeat. The prime source of stress however was mainly coming from within.

“I am a very competitive person,” she admitted.

The 20-year-old student presently stands as the reigning national champion and will represent Canada at the World Skills Competition in Leipzig, Germany from July 2 – 7, 2013.

Halter’s coach and instructor Peter Masch said her attention to detail is what has made her the ideal candidate not only for SAIT, but for the entire country.

“She is very driven. She is sort of a perfectionist,” Masch said who called these qualities ideal for the international stage.

“You need to be 100 per cent on everything or it’s not right. Accuracy is extremely important in this trade.”

What was remarkable about last year’s double-gold performance was that she was essentially a rookie competing against students with a year of experience over her. Yet she defeated competitors who were in the midst of their second year of studies and even a student who had competed on the national stage before. She said her dominance was a testament to the training she has received at SAIT.

What initially attracted her to SAIT was the variety of skills she could acquire. She calls producing eye-catching business cards, brochures, posters and virtually anything that demands her creativity a joy rather than a chore.

Many cutting-edge techniques that include printing designs on metals have also been garnering her attention.

She has been preparing for the international tournament well before hand to ensure she is more than equipped to deal with any sweat-inducing obstacles that may stand in her way. Germany will not only feature a panel of judges but a roped-off section where fans and audience members can snap pictures and critique competitors at their will.

The competition involves mixing ink, maintaining ideal printing standards, maintenance work, measuring conductivity and many other skills that she has incorporated into her arsenal while in Calgary.

The game plan for success in Germany is simple according to Halter.

“I’ve been making adjustments to my attitude. I like the mentality that I had on the last day of nationals. Just do your best don’t worry about what other people have done,” she said.

Coach Masch, who will continue training Halter throughout the semester and into the summer leading up to the trade showdown, said it will be great to visit family, but the Halter squad has one priority for the trip to Europe.

“We are going for gold—that is the only reason we are going there. We are going for the top,” he said.

To emulate the international stage, a former Canadian champion visited SAIT on Feb. 8 to compete against Halter in a mock event at the recent SAIT open house. Tom Middlebro, from Ontario competed in 2011 in London, England at the World Skills Competition.

Other SAIT students also competing in Germany include Nic Kitt for welding, Jordy Bartman for auto body repair and Zack Hartle in the industrial control sector.

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