Students win national welding fabrication contest
Alaina Myers ’23, Beauen Garman ’22, and Camden Elmo ’22 make up the New Oxford SkillsUSA Welding Fabrication trifecta that beat teams from 42 other states to bring home the gold medal at nationals. Myers, Garman and Elmo, guided by instructor Rick Jones, made it to the national competition after winning first place at the district and state levels.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that our efforts have paid off, and we are the nation’s 2022 welding fabrication champions,” says Alaina Myers. “Our team appreciates everyone who supported us throughout the process.”
This diligent team of high school students is enrolled in the welding program at New Oxford High School’s Colonial Career & Technology Center, which was first unveiled by Conewago Valley School District in September 2019. McClure Company was the construction manager and Engineer of Record for the project, working closely with the school district to develop the 25,000 square foot Technical Education addition in conjunction with other district wide energy savings and infrastructure upgrades performed under Pennsylvania’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act.
The district’s new Technical Education programs have seen tremendous success in the first few years of operation, with an enrollment increase of 700 students in the first full year of the program’s operation alone. During design of the tech facility, McClure’s engineering team collaborated with the district to include many special features, like custom welding stations.
Those welding stations have been put to good use by Myers, Garman and Elmo, who worked extremely hard to win their national title. The three students often met early in the morning before the start of classes to prepare and practice for their competitions. The students also raised money from local organizations to fund their trip to nationals. McClure Company donated $2,500 to the cause, and Local Union 520 Plumbers & Pipefitters supported the team’s endeavors with a donation of $1,000.
During nationals, the team was judged on many factors including safety, welding techniques, teamwork, fabrication, oral explanation, weld drawings, project proposals, a professional development test and a written welding knowledge test.
“It’s rewarding to see that the district’s investment in the Technical Education curriculum is benefiting students and preparing them for future career paths,” says Troy Johnson, Local 520 Member and Project Superintendent at McClure Company. Mr. Johnson was involved in construction of the tech center. He also serves on CCTC’s advisory board and volunteers as a mentor for welding students on his days off.
“Technical education offers students the opportunity to develop and apply critical skills to real-world problems through hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom.” Johnson notes. Scott Christ, Business Manager of Local Union 520 agrees with Johnson’s sentiment.
“The future of our workforce depends on programs like these,” says Christ. “Congratulations to New Oxford’s SkillsUSA Welding Fabrication team. You have a bright future ahead, and we look forward to seeing you in the field some day!”