Career Technical Education (CTE) students from seven area high schools competed in the Third Annual Welding Showdown on Jan. 20 at San Joaquin Delta College. The 35 students showcased their welding skills to industry representatives who helped judge the competition.
Venture Academy Family of Schools (VAFS), a charter school operated by the San Joaquin County Office of Education, received top honors in the team competition, and students from Orestimba High School and Escalon High School took top marks in the individual competitions.
"The Welding Showdown continues to showcase the best talent in our high schools from around San Joaquin County. The continued growth and interest in this annual event demonstrates the need to provide quality career-related pathways for students in our middle and high schools," SJCOE CTE Director Chris Kleinert said.
The seven high schools that competed this year were: Patterson High School, Lincoln High School, Escalon High School, Linden High School, Ripon High, Orestimba High, and Venture Academy Family of Schools. Each school fielded a five-man team with team members competing in individual challenges.
Students from the winning team took home new welding gear, gloves, jackets, hoods, and glasses. All students received a pair of new gloves, literature, calendars, and stickers donated by Miller Electric and Lincoln Electric, industry leaders in welding equipment. California Welding Supply also awarded a new handheld grinder to the winning team.
There are many different welding processes: shielded metal arc welding/ stick welding (SMAW), gas metal arc welding (GMAW), flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), and gas tungsten arc welding (TIG). Students competed using SMAW and GMAW. The competition also included a written exam that assessed students on their technical welding knowledge.
The idea for the competition began three years ago when SJCOE CTE welding instructor John Herger and Patterson High’s instructor Michael Costa met and discussed ways to motivate students and to give them something to work toward that was rewarding and challenging. Last year, Delta College welding instructor Alex Taddei joined the collaboration, allowing more schools in the region to participate.
“I look forward to this contest every year because of the students. The effort they put into the contest, along with the support of the industry and the passion shared by the instructor’s makes for an extremely exciting day. The competition is always very close and it’s anyone’s game,” Herger said.
Photo courtesy of Sherilyn Herger