KC Hosts First Annual Welding Competition
Nine area high school students competed in Kaskaskia College’s first annual Welding Competition held at the Crisp Technology Center in Centralia. The students, representing Carlyle, Breese Central, Centralia, Nashville and Wesclin High Schools were instructed to fabricate a weldment, which is an object created by welding together several parts, from a blueprint. Each student had to utilize both shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and gas metal arc welding (GMAW) in the flat and vertical positions, as well as utilizing grinders and a oxy-fuel torch on the project. Students were scored on the welds, torch cutting, final assembly and shop etiquette. Dustin Foley of Centralia took first in an extremely close competition winning a twelve credit hour gift certificate to KC, a DeWalt grinder and grinding wheels, among other prizes.
Invitations were sent to all 17 high schools in the KC district, and Welding Instructor Cory Wellen worked with the students who accepted the invitation to participate, holding practice sessions at the Crisp Center over the last three months to help them prepare. As part of the practice sessions the students learned blueprint fundamentals and other fabrication techniques. Wellen said the competition itself far exceeded his expectations, saying it was a testament to the contestants, and to their high school instructors. “Even if the contestants do not choose a career in welding, which I hope they do, I think they learned valuable skills to help them succeed in any career. 100% a great group of kids with a ton of potential,” said Wellen. Wellen added the contest gave the students the opportunity to see how the industry works, and a chance to meet with future employers.
Wellen also thanked the judges for the competition, Mike Freed of Cee Kay, Les Zahn of Americana and Don Haiker of Jarco for giving their time to review and score each project. He also thanked Cee Kay who served as the major sponsor for the competition and provided welding glove, wire brushes and grinding wheels that each contestant was able to keep. Each of the contestants were also awarded prizes for their respective finishes. Wellen also thanked Engineered Fluid, Americana, Revco, Weiler Abrasives, Airgas and Steiner Industries for also sponsoring the competition, which he plans to hold again next year.
Pictured are participants in the First Annual Kaskaskia College Welding Competition. (L to R) Zach Crumbey (Carlyle), Curtis Brammeier (Carlyle), Deven Mashburn (Centralia), Darren Hemker (Breese Central), Dustin Foley (Centralia), Dalton Smolley (Carlyle), Landon Davis (Nashville), Tyler Bernreuter (Wesclin) and Ian Toga Waugh (Wesclin)
Also pictured is Kaskaskia College Welding Instructor Cory Wellen (left) with Dustin Foley of Centralia (right) who placed first in the College’s First Annual Welding Competition.