The sight of sparks and smell of melted metal and paint means it’s Christmas time in the welding department.
Senior Damian Cunningham, has been part of the program — one of many Career and Technology classes at PN-G — since last year.
“I joined welding because I felt this would be the easiest thing for me to learn,” Cunningham said. “It’s a great mindset to be able to focus on one thing at a time, then to head onto the next.”
The class has been working on The Christmas Tree Project, where the students plan and complete metal christmas trees for the public to order. The trees were sold through Dec. 9 and came in three sizes: four-foot ($15), six-foot ($20) and eight-foot ($25).
“(I like doing this because) everybody wants them,” Cunningham said. “It’s more of a learning experience, You know? You’re working with your buddies, you’re also learning how to do different things with welding. You’re putting smiles on peoples faces when they see what we’ve made.”
Cunningham and many other students also are taking part in The Christmas Tree project. One of these students is senior Austin Johnson.
“I have always been passionate about welding,” Johnson said. “It’s a high paying job, it’s fun and easy to learn.”
Johnson, also in his second year, says this is a great skill for his life in the future.
“It helps my life a lot,” Johnson said. “I mean, if something breaks with a vehicle or anything I can weld it. I can build stuff easier, it makes it pretty easy to do things.
“I have always been passionate about welding,” Johnson said. “It’s a high-paying job, it’s fun and easy to learn.”
Johnson said he enjoys the spray painting part of the project is fun, too.
Welding instructor Tommy Gordon taught the craft at LIT before coming to to PN-G. As students worked, he was happy to see them working together as a team and helping each other out.
“I have been welding for over 20 years and I like helping students,” Gordon said.
“I enjoy watching them. I kinda run it like a job here so they have an idea of what it’s like out there. If you notice you don’t see any of these guys with phones out, they don’t have jewelry on — which you are not supposed to have on out in the work field, like in the plants or refineries.”