Students from the Lawrence County Career Technical Center’s welding program traveled to Northwest-Shoals Community College. In their final competition of the year, six of eight competitors placed. Two took first place in their classification. All together, the group brought home over $3,000 in prizes.
The annual competition welcomed schools from across north Alabama and into Tennessee. Approximately 75 students competed in two divisions: traditional and dual-enrollment (high school students in college classes). Each division had three welding classes: flux core, 7018, and 6010.
Six Lawrence County students competed in the welding competitions. All placed in their classifications.
In the dual-enrollment division, Josh Riley placed second in the flux core class. Kane Standridge placed second in 6010. Jayden Baldwin placed third in 7018. All three students graduate in May.
Among traditional students, Trinity Campbell placed first in flux core; Herschel Osborn took first in 7018; and Dawson McNairy finished second in 6010. Campbell and Osborn are juniors; McNairy graduates in May.
According to instructor Brian Tidwell, the NSCC competition means a great deal to his students.
“That’s what my kids look forward to every year,” said Tidwell.
Each student can only compete in one event. Tidwell challenged two of his students by swapping their events from last year’s competition.
“Last year, Herschel competed in the flux core division for traditional, and Trinity competed in the 7018 for traditional,” Tidwell explained. “This year I swapped them around and made Trinity do the flux core and Herschel do the 7018 and both of them won first again.
“No doubt I could’ve put Herschel back over there and let him do flux core this year, and he would have won again… But I wanted him to get out of his comfort zone.”
Both Osborn and Campbell received scholarships to NSCC as part of their winnings.
“I’m very proud of all of them,” said Tidwell. “They all worked very hard preparing for this competition.”
Osborn, Campbell, and Baldwin have one competition left. In late May, they’ll travel to Birmingham for the Boilermakers Apprenticeship event.
For the rest of the program, the competition marks the end to a successful season.
“The competitions have been great,” said Tidwell. “It’s definitely an encouragement for the students. But certifications – that’s as important as it gets for me.
“We’ve had 30-something certification tests passed this year. That’s the key to me.”
To finish the year, the welding program will work on projects to sell at the Strawberry Festival. The event serves as the program's largest fundraiser.
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