Waco Texas High School Welding Series State Build-Off

(WACO, Texas) – Some high school students from throughout Texas gathered May 9-10 for the first Texas High School Welding Series State Build-Off held at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.

“I think TSTC did an outstanding job welcoming the (welding series) board and each and every one of the students,” said Mike Higgins, board president of the welding series.

Students made it to Waco by placing high in regional welding series contests held during the last few months throughout the state.

At the state contest, students competed in the individual Cutting and Welding contests, while teams took part in the Build-Off competition. Students had to read blueprints to complete projects in a timed format.

Chase Fulton, a welding and manufacturing teacher at Canyon High School in Randall County, said he and his students traveled more than six hours to Waco to take part in the Build-Off contest. He said the trip was a big deal for his students.

“We try to incorporate the Build-Off concept throughout classes,” Fulton said. “We get as close to real-world as possible.”

Dalila Huerta, a senior at Lorenzo High School in Crosby County, was part of a team of four seniors. The team traveled more than six hours to compete in Waco.

“It’s fun because we take initiative and we communicate at the same time,” she said of her team.

Huerta said some of the lessons she learned include being precise with cutting, doing everything right the first time, and knowing that a solution can be found to problems.

Austin Allen, program team lead for TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said the competition means interactions between the high school students, college instructors and staff, and exposure to the program’s equipment. Recruiters were on hand to talk to students about what TSTC has to offer.

Jacob Rodriguez, a senior at Hastings High School in Houston, competed individually in the Welding contest. 

Rodriguez took dual credit welding classes at TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus. He is preparing to study Welding Technology this fall at TSTC’s Waco campus.

“It’s the (welding) shop and housing,” he said of what attracted him to TSTC. “I’ve been to a lot of schools to do welding contests, and they don’t have a shop like this one.”

Schools and students finishing in the top three in contests were:



First place: Central High School, Pollok, Texas

Second place: Canyon High School, Canyon, Texas

Third place: Kerens High School, Kerens, Texas


First place: Keyvin Hernandez, Cleveland High School, Cleveland, Texas

Second place: Christopher Rodriguez, Cleveland High School, Cleveland, Texas

Third place: Joel Serrano, Royal High School, Brookshire, Texas


First place: Iasias Perez, Bloomington High School, Victoria, Texas

Second place: Eliazar Serrato, Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School, Houston, Texas

Third place: Omar Ortiz, Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, Texas


Students that placed in the Build-Off and Welding contests received scholarships from TSTC.

TSTC’s Waco campus is scheduled to host the state event in 2025.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu

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