Mt. Vernon Township High School swept the top five spots in the 24th annual Welding Contest at Rend Lake College. The top five welders will receive tuition waivers to attend RLC, which could save them more than $740 for a 12-credit-hour course load.
Forty students from high schools within the Rend Lake College district competed in the contest, which was held Friday, April 8, at the college’s welding lab.
The contestants welded small I-beams and their work was judged by RLC Welding Professor Dave Smith and others. The students were directed to make several particular welds on their I-beams, and the competitors’ specific welds were judged against each other.
The top ten finishers received certificates and a pair of welding gloves. An electronic welding helmet went to the overall winner, Jeremy Bullock of Mt. Vernon Township High School.
The top ten finishers in the contest were:
1 – Jeremy Bullock (MVTHS)
2 – Jason Kramm (MVTHS)
3 – Billy Hanes (MVTHS)
4 – Seth Bumpus (MVTHS)
5 – Josh Morris (MVTHS)
6 – Lache Cearlock (MVTHS)
7 – Austin Maloney (Hamilton County Senior High School)
8 – Brice Moll (MVTHS)
9 – Matt Nelson (HCSHS)
10 – Blake Siedler (HCSHS)
Also competing in the welding contest were students from Benton Consolidated High School, Pinckneyville Community High School and Webber Township High School.
According to Smith, there is a great demand for skilled welders in the workplace. Those willing to put in the time and effort necessary to not only improve their welding abilities, but also to develop their academic skills, can make terrific salaries, he said.
The demand for welders is so high that students often are hired right from the RLC welding lab, Smith said.
For more information about RLC’s Welding Program, contact Smith at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1227, or toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321.