Nearly 50 students compete in annual welding contest
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lincoln-Way Central served as host to the 2nd Annual Lincoln-Way District Welding Contest on the evening of Thursday March 8, 2018. With 49 students registering to compete, it was the largest District 210 welding contest to date.

"The fact that we have 49 students competing is remarkable,” says Welding Instructor, Daymon Gast. “Students all noted that the contest was fun, fair and challenging…In addition, the contest makes it possible for us to practice for three additional welding contests that our students will compete in this year," he says. Parents, friends and former high school welding students also attended, bringing the total attendance to approximately 85 people.

The $5 entry fee charged to competitors covered the cost of pizza, refreshments and desserts. “The cost and time is offset by the opportunity to compete for over $1,000 in prizes and trophies,” says Gast. Each participant also received a contest t-shirt.

"Students are very excited about the opportunities for well-paying careers that await them in the hot work trades; welding gets them prepared," Gast says.

The contest offered two divisions in which students could compete: Intermediate and Advanced. The intermediate contest involved shielded metal arc welding, oxy-acetylene welding and a written test. The advanced contest involved various shielded metal arc welds and a written test.

Winners in the Intermediate Division were:
• Alex Jansen (East): 1st place
• Mario Brcik (East): 2nd place
• Matt Gorzynski (East): 3rd place

Winners in the Advanced Division were:
• Bobby Caddigan (Central): 1st place
• Adrian Villasenor (East) and Adam Hudson (East): Tie for 2nd place

"The contest was made extra special by the overwhelming support of our local businesses and labor unions," says Gast. “Businesses who greatly supported us were American Combustion Service, Inc., Elfco Fastener Supply, Inc., Weldstar, Airgas and Doc's Smokehouse.”

Iron Workers Local #444 and Pipefitters Local #597 provided assistance and prizes for the winners.

“A lot of work goes into making the event successful. Fortunately, I have other Lincoln-way instructors, Dan Moore and Jason Visny, to assist me. I also had two Journeyman Pipefitters who did all the judging,” says Gast.

District 210’s welding program continues to grow each year. Lincoln-Way offers three years (or levels) of opportunities for students. Students may begin taking welding classes during their sophomore year.

“Students learn SMAW, GMAW, GTAW, OFW, OFC, BW, PAC and soldering. They learn to weld in out-of-position and on the most popular metals such as mild steel, aluminum and stainless steel,” says Gast, who is also a Certified Welding Instructor, Certified Welding Educator, and a Certified Welder through the American Welding Society (AWS).