PHS/4-H has four teams place at Tri-State Fair Welding Competition
Pampa High School has partnered with Gray County 4H this year and had four teams place at the Tri-State Fair for welding.
Pampa High School has Intro Welding, Welding I, Welding II and Dual-Credit Welding. The Dual-Credit class starts planning and building projects during the first week of school to prepare for the Tri-State Fair.
“This year we didn’t do as well as I wanted to, because our COVID dismissal at Spring Break last School Year really cut into our Training time to build projects,” PHS welding instructor Rex Childress said. “I didn’t have students at PHS and a lot of other schools had their kids building projects but probably not at school. Our plans are to ramp that up.”
This is Childress’ fourth year with welding in some shape or form.
Childress likes to bring in students who may not be able to have access to welding resources at home and introduce them into the industry.
“We like to introduce them into simple welding techniques here at the high school beginning with Intro Welding,” Childress said. “Basically 75 kids across three welding classes work on sparking their interest. Intro Welding promotes the next year if interested to two-hour classes for the kids that want less expensive college hours offered through Clarendon College gaining College Credits while working at the high school in our two-hour welding class.”
The goal is for students to have at least an elementary to intermediate understanding on how to weld as many businesses have a lot of niche and specialties their industry may focus on.
“You may have a company that does just stainless-steel tig-welding on pipe or a trailer manufacturer that wants you to weld on thick-wall square-tubing,” Childress said. “We try to cover everything from torch-brazing to autogenous welding with a torch to stick welding, wire-feed welding and tig welding. We have an aluminum pulse-welder we can weld aluminum with that.”
If welding isn’t in the students’ future, this course will familiarize the students with tools in a similar industry or trade.
“Industry is very advanced now and very lean because they want to hire you and put you to work for them. Industry doesn’t have as much time for training and getting you up to speed to perform for them,” Childress said.
The projects are selected by the teams and Childress helps them build the project.
“When I put teams together it’s basically a blank slate,” Childress said. “What do you want to build? Then I discuss with them what the materials’ cost are and if they can build it within the time-frame. All of this Year’s projects were built in 10 school days with School starting later than usual.”
Childress said there were some projects that the teams weren’t able to be build due to time-constraints to make it to the Tri State Fair, but they hope to start earlier next year.
The teams are judged on description, workmanship, design, practicality, degree of difficulty, finish, plans/materials and documentation.
After being judged at the Tri-State Fair, the projects are now taking bids at the home football games with the proceeds going back into the welding program.
“We’ve made most of our money back on materials so anything we get above and beyond that goes back into the program,” Childress said.
The program is now working on getting students AWS (American Welding Society) certified.
Freshmen can start in the Intro program, but courtesy is given to sophomores through seniors who need a CTE course.
“We have seen excellent growth in the welding program year over year which was one of our earliest goals mainly because students like to build, they feel a sense of accomplishment when working with their hands like many of us do,” Childress said. “It lets them express themselves in their own unique way which I have really learned to appreciate.
“The students bring in scrap they might have at home and turn it into projects I have never even thought of, they are very creative. This year we have reached max capacity and could expand easily given more space and equipment. I am excited for the future of the PHS / 4H Welding Program and it’s great experiences, I’ve had many adults tell me that they wished they had taken a program like this in High School. And that is why we are here today…to get students future ready.”
For more information, call Rex Childress at Pampa High School at 806-669-4800.