Welders take top ranks

Freddy Ortiz, News Editor

On the first of this month, the Joliet West welding team took top ranks at the high school welding competition held at Moraine Valley Community College.

In Division 1, Sam Cunningham finished first place, Todd Griswold in second, and Mike Gonzalez in third. In Division 2, Jacob Casey finished first place, and Silvestre Corra in second. In Division 3, Max Duarte finished in first place. West Welder Sam Cunningham stole gold by winning the Overall Welder Competition Award.

The Competition consisted of three schools going head to head, with a total of fifty-two students competing. Students were allowed to showcase their expertise in four categories, which were a written exam, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and Oxyfuel Welding

Much like how athletes train the body, our welders train the mind. Welding instructor Joe Contreras provides the students with blueprints and study materials. From there, students practice welding to the point of mastery.

Regardless of if a student is of the select 15 to compete at a competition or not, the Welding class is a very hands-on course. When asked how a typical day in Welding goes, Contras replied, “On a typical day in welding class, we are reviewing what we are going to cover for that day and go over safety topics before going out to the shop.”

“We are working on our assignments either reading blueprints or running Gas welding or Electrical equipment.”, states Contreras.

The instructor feels as if his students overperformed for the age group they’re in, stating, “They’re far more advanced than students of the surrounding areas.”

Welding, as expressed by Contreras, is an “art form” of precision and hand-eye coordination. He’s proud of his students, he feels his students should be just as proud of themselves.