Students from Benton, Wayne City and Mt. Vernon high schools took top honors during the 23rd annual Welding Contest held Friday, March 24, at Rend Lake College. Tuition waivers will be given to the top five finishers who qualify.
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.
Approximately 35 seniors from Mt. Vernon Township, Christopher, Benton Consolidated, Webber Township, Hamilton County Senior, Wayne City and Pinckneyville Community high schools participated in the contest, which was held at the college’s welding lab.
The top ten finishers received certificates, a pair of welding gloves and a welding brush. ILMO Products and CeeKay Supply provided additional prizes to the top two finishers.
The top ten finishers in the contest were:
1 – Chris Clark (Benton Consolidated High School)
2 – Jarrett Weaver (Wayne City High School)
3 – Casey Catalfamo (Mt. Vernon Township High School)
4 – Tyler Popplewell (WCHS)
5 – Audra West (BCHS)
6 – Jerrod McGill (Hamilton County Senior High School)
7 – John Ard (MVTHS)
8 – Matt Stanley (MVTHS)
9 – Wes Walker (BCHS)
10 – Dustin Johnston (MVTHS)
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.
High-resolution photos of the top ten finishers are available by clicking the names above or by clicking the captions below the above photos. Each of the winners is pictured with Smith.