Students interest fired up on welding
by Courtney Stevens
Nov 10, 2013 | 2234 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Masks were pulled tight over faces and sparks flew as students worked on a welding project at Delta State University Wednesday afternoon.

The Delta Arts Alliance has partnered with Michael Stanley to provide welding classes once a week to students from the Cleveland School District.

Stanley is the new assistant professor of art and currently teaches beginning drawing, 3D design one and two, and sculpture one through six.

Seven students were chosen, five from East Side High School and two from the Walter C. Robinson Achievement Center to attend the class for six weeks.

"I learned to weld from a woman. It isn't gender specific," said Stanley. The class consists of four girls and three boys.

On the first day the students met to get to know one another.

"We spent a whole two hours looking at slides about welding and a real rough introduction to metallurgy, the chemical makeup of steel and things like that," said Stanley.

The second week the students reviewed and took apart the equipment to ensure they were familiar with all pieces before they began using them.

"Everyone has an apron, gun gloves and face masks," said Stanley.

Some of the items were donated anonymously to the class such as sharpies, gloves, masks, and earplugs.

"I like it. It's interesting, you have to pay attention," said Ryan Pates, the student with the most experience due to his dad and brother being welders.

"Hopefully we can get this built up. It's a good start right now," said Stanley.

Stanley went on to say that several companies such as have heard about the class and are excited because welders are in high demand.

"All sorts of people need welders. You can do all sorts of things. With this they won't get certified but they will get exposed to see if they have any interest in it. If they do, then they can go get certified," he said.

Stanley explained that to get certified a person must take a three-month class.

"We are in a shortage of welders all over this country. They do anything from welding pipe to metal fabrication like stadium seating. It's so integrated into our society that we take it for granted," he said.

The students work in a rotation to complete the projects, which are a table sculptures.

The sculptures are based off Origami and will hopefully be put on display. Stanley said there is a possibility they could put them up for sale.

"I hope that we are able to sell them to show the students that this is a way to make money. Even if you aren't a certified welder you can make some money. You don’t need to be certified to weld," said Stanley.

The students worked in a rotation at three different tables to work on different pieces of the project at the same time.

With shouts of "fire" before the welding trigger is pulled, students worked for two hours to get further along in their project.

The DAA, as well as Stanley, hope to continue with the class next semester.

To find out more about what the Delta Arts Alliance has to offer call 662-843-3344.