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Canadian high school students win Phoenix Challenge

April 18, 2011

Chong Wang and Sharon Mai, of Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School in Mississauga, each won $1,000 scholarships.

After two and a half days of multi-functional competition at the 2011 International Phoenix Challenge High School Flexo Competition, first place was awarded along with $1,000 scholarships to Sharon Mai and Chong Wang.

The team is from Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, Mississauga, ON, Canada. The duo were declared the winners of the 14th annual international competition, which took place at the Harper National Flexographic Center at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC, USA in early April.

Mai and Wang won the first place award by earning this year’s highest combined scores in the contest’s five exams: written knowledge, math, prepress proficiency, press operation and platemaking. In addition to the two $1,000 Phoenix Challenge Foundation Scholarships, the winning team took home the 2010 Harper Flexo High School of the Year trophy cup for display at school. Stephanie Hammond is a second year champion, having clinched first place with a different teammate in last year’s competition also.

Other top students excelled in all aspects of the competition. Second place went to Li-Anne Chang and Elina Shafigu Lina, also from Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School. Third place went to Amber Peet and Monica Manalo of Bergen County Technical School in New Jersey.

The competition was stiff among top performers from all over North America. A total of 13 teams participated in the event, which has grown year over year since the Phoenix Challenge high school program began back in 1998.

“The rivalry gets more challenging every year as the best high school students in the United States and Canada train and prepare tenaciously for this flexographic competition, with all eyes on the top awards,” says Bettylyn Krafft, chair of the competition.

The Phoenix Challenge Foundation is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization of industry professionals dedicated to the recruitment and development of the future workforce for flexography. Each year flexo students and teachers from throughout the US and Canada are invited to the Phoenix Challenge Competitions. The high school event is a two and half-day skill-based competition with hands-on and comprehension testing in operating a flexo press, prepress, platemaking, and overall flexo knowledge. Winners are eligible for scholarships funded by the foundation. To date, $30,000 in scholarships has been awarded to encourage students to pursue further education and a career in flexography.