Welding creates bonds — between metals, between students.
Monument School shop teacher Michele Engle and her six students welcomed Mark Lynch and four members of his high school welding class from Clackamas for two days of in-depth instruction.
With a student population of 47 for Monument, and the visitors coming from a technical school of 3,500, the matchup Feb. 26-27 was a learning experience for both groups.
Engle met instructor Mark Lynch, a manufacturing instructor for Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center, last December at a Skills USA conference in Redmond.
She said Monument School joined the career technical student organization this school year, and being new to welding herself, Engle said she was grateful when several people at the conference offered help, including Lynch.
Lynch is a certified welding inspector, instructor and safety trainer. Over the two days, he and his students taught techniques in different types of welding, including gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding.
The students also learned brazing, a metal-joining process, and each created a life-sized metal rose. A welding competition also helped them gain more experience.
Clackamas sophomore Alex Tobiassen said the trip to Monument with his welding friends was fun.
“It’s a whole culture shift for us,” he said. “The community is really cool. The guys we’re teaching are really cool. ... We’re talking about the differences of our lives.”
Monument senior Preston Stevens said it was exciting to increase their skill level and learn the safety rules and procedures.
“We learned new ways of welding,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough. They’ve done so much for us in the short two days we’ve had, and I’m glad we could meet such a good group.”
Drew Wilburn, a Monument sophomore, said the training was invaluable.
“It widens my knowledge of careers I want to pursue,” he said. “Welding is something I love, and I’m enjoying learning how to do it better.”
Monument freshman DJ Howell added he’s learned to keep a better angle and distance for a better weld, as well as how to properly operate and maintain the equipment.
Engle said the “city kids and country kids” made fast friends.
“I had high hopes of the knowledge that we would attain; it actually turned out much better than I imagined,” she said. “Mark is a very talented, kind and knowledgeable welding instructor.”
Lynch said the students in his program attend their regular high school, while also receiving the vocational-technical training at Sabin-Schellenberg, which has a variety of programs.
If his students participate in the program all four years, they can become a certified welder.
“They can go into any one of the trades,” he said. “Companies hire students right out of the gate.”
He said he’s seen his students advance to fields such as bridge building, manufacturing, the structure metal industry, heavy equipment and aircraft welding.
The Monument shop and agriculture class will hold an open house from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, with handmade items for sale at the school’s career and technical department shop, located on the hill behind the athletic field.
Engle said her shop class is planning a visit in May to the Sabin-Schellenberg Center “in hopes of continuing a successful association with Mark and his program.”