East Williamson County Texas High School Welding Series

(HUTTO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s East Williamson County campus hosted more than 80 high school welding students for the Texas High School Welding Series on Saturday, Feb. 17.

It marked the first time that the campus had hosted the series, which gives students opportunities to improve their employability and technical skills in welding. Students were tested in four American Welding Society-backed certification levels.

Faculty from TSTC’s Welding Technology program were on hand to answer the students’ questions. Sam Flener, a program instructor, said it was energizing to see the future of welding among the high school students.

“It’s a good experience for them to connect and see our program and compete,” she said.

Gary Adams, an agricultural mechanics teacher at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park, took six students to the event. He said he wanted his students to learn calmness when doing welding tests.

“They just need to do it,” Adams said.

Isaiah Johnson, a sophomore at the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) and University High School in Waco, received Level 3 certification in gas metal arc welding. He was among 13 GWAMA students at the event.

“I just wanted to come here and try something new,” he said. “I’m very happy and very surprised because I didn’t think I was going to get it.”

Emi Hoshino, a freshman at Del Valle High School, also took the Level 3 certification welding test but did not pass. She said she was excited about meeting some of TSTC’s female welding instructors.

“We need more girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” Hoshino said. “I think it’s great to empower women and encourage them.”

The welding series has been held at other TSTC campuses.

“TSTC has multiple locations in the state of Texas,” said Jim Baxter, state regional event coordinator for the welding series. “Their machines are up to industry standards. We are trying to reach all high school students in Texas.”

Students placing in the top three of each certification level were:

Level 1 (flux-cored arc welding): Jonathan Hernandez, Reagan County High School; Samuel Walker, Leander High School; and Asa Castaneda, Vista Ridge High School.

Level 2 (flux-cored arc welding): Tyler Johnson, Vista Ridge High School; Cayden Gribben, New Caney High School; and Anthony Bradley, GWAMA.

Level 3 (gas metal arc welding): Miguel Aguirre, New Caney High School; Carlos Rodriguez, GWAMA; and Miguel Rivera, Pittsburg High School.

Level 4 (shielded metal arc welding): Travis Pennica and Aziel Ledezma, both of Pearland High School, and Curtis Adams, Pittsburg High School.

The Level 4 winners will compete in the welding series’ state competition scheduled for May 9-10 at TSTC’s Waco campus.

For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu

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