A Natural Talent, Written By Amy

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Alyssa Kennedy is a gifted welder.

The 15-year-old student at Hanover’s John Diefenbaker Secondary School (JDSS) has been taking welding classes at Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre, also in Hanover, since 2017. After her first class, the instructors knew she was a rare talent.

“Alyssa has more talent and skill at 15 than some of the welders I was working with before I retired,” chuckled John Bak, Launch Pad’s lead welding instructor.

Her Grandpa taught her the basics, and she has increased her abilities by bringing those skills with her to the Launch Pad programs, where she continues to grow, said Tim Wise, the Manufacturing Instructor at JDSS.

“Many times I have eaten my lunch in my welding shop instead of the teacher’s lounge so Alyssa could finish a personal project she was working on,” Tim said. “And, of course, I don’t mind.”

Not only does she have a talent for welding, but she also has a creative side, and her ability to mix metal and art together is another signature trait. Alyssa’s talent for metal art is a natural gift, and she makes sure to pass on her knowledge to others. While she takes more advanced level classes at Launch Pad, she volunteers her time to assist the instructor in the first-time welding classes.

“She’s always willing to help out with the other welding programs and youth, and you can tell that she really enjoys it,” said Kate Blythe, Launch Pad’s office coordinator. “It’s not forced by any means.”

What makes Alyssa a ‘Cool Kid’ is that she is completely unfazed by the male dominance of the welding industry. Currently, the trades are pushing for more females, and you can clearly see she’s not worried about breaking into the environment or fitting in – she’s already part of the industry.

If you know of another Cool Kid interested in learning about welding, Launch Pad just released its program calendar for Winter 2019. Close-toed shoes are the only requirement, while Launch Pad provides everything else. Learn more at www.yatc. ca.

To nominate a Cool Kid for our Spring 2019 issue, email Amy at amy@greybrucekids.com.

For the full article in Grey Bruce Kids go to http://www.greybrucekids.com/GBK_Winter201819_web.pdf.