Former welding instructor Brian Massie, who now works for AIDA of North America, and embedded English teacher Deana Harris were looking for a way to combine all of the skills the students learn throughout the school year, Massie said. Similar events are held at college programs, Massie said.
“It became a great event to get the community involved and the welding industry involved,” Massie said. “It’s a culmination of the activities the students have been working on throughout the year.”
Since its inception, the event has raised more than $7,000 for various organizations. A different organization is chosen each year, she said.
The students draw blueprints in the morning, then begin welding and fabricating throughout the day, using teamwork to finish their projects.
They’re also required to use their English skills, writing press releases and making phone calls for donations, Harris said.
“It also builds on their networking skills,” she said.
Murphy and her teammates built a windmill which also included a cow and a flower, she said.
“It’s kind of hectic, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
The students use scrap metal donated from local manufacturing companies, some of which also serve as mentors during the competition. Several companies have hired students from the program after seeing them work at the rodeo, Massie said.
“They’re watching their work ethic and how well they get along with other people,” Massie said. “It leads to these companies saying ‘I need to hire a couple of kids and I want these two’.”
Welding is a field in major demand, said Michael Rice, CTC Associate Schools Coordinator. There are typically more jobs available than students who are able to go out for placement, Rice said.
The program has grown dramatically over the last few years and there’s currently a waiting list, he said.
“Our program filled within about three weeks of accepting applications,” Rice said.
A few years ago, the weld shop was expanded, allowing to number of students to increase from 16 to 25, he said.
“We didn’t have the room to house as many students who were applying,” Rice said.