Local welding students vying for scholarships

24 students competed for scholarships to Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Fla.

24 students competed for scholarships to Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Fla.

By GINNY COOPER/Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA—Students from Shelby, Talledega, Chilton and Jefferson counties gathered at the Shelby County College and Career Center to compete for scholarships to Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tulsa Welding School awarded a $500 scholarship to each of the 24 students competing, as well as a $16,00, $8,000 and $4,000 scholarship to the first, second and third place welders.

“They’ve been practicing now, some of them for a few months,” said Shelby County College and Career Center teacher Lynn Miller.

The students are judged on consistency, size, lack of defects and tie-in in their weld, said judge Brandon Kunze, a representative from Esab Welding and Cutting Products, one of the sponsors of the event.

“Right now there is a very, very high demand for a skilled tradesman,” Paul Kuckles, a high school admissions representative for Tulsa Welding School said. “For every three (welders) retiring, there is only one entering the work force right now.”

Steven Martin, Seth Harris and James Heisler were awarded the top three scholarships, with James Heisler, Mitchell Porter, Antonio Cortez and Zachory Grey also receiving prizes donated by Esab Welding and Lincoln Electric.