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High school students show off fiery welding skills during competition

In early March, students from across northern Michigan were able to take the next step in their welding career to prove their skills and learn from others.

With fire blowing from the tip of their torches and sparks flying all around them, nearly 50 students from nine schools in northern Michigan came to compete at the third Annual High School Welding Competition at the Industrial Arts Institute in Onaway.

Another bonus for these students was being able to talk with and learn from professional welders.

“We got representatives from the IMBW, an electrician company. We have representatives from an employment opportunity seeking individuals in the welding field and give the students an opportunity to talk careers and career options and showcase their talent in competition,” said Industrial Arts Institutes Executive Director Mark Dombrowski.

In the competition, students selected one of three welding processes that they were most confident in.

The top three finishers in each of these classes won welding gear and a $1,500 scholarship to attend the Industrial Arts Institute.

First place gets a bonus $500 in cash and Thor’s Hammer.

“You can’t be too stressed out about it. You need to relax,” said competitor Gordy Burger. “They give you enough time that you go through all your stuff slowly and make sure you have everything correct.”

“I have learned a lot of different things like different processes, different struggles that other people had that I didn’t think were possible and don’t be too nervous on yourself or hard on yourself. At the end of the day, you do what you love,” said competitor Kenzie Foreman.

For these students, the love of welding is earning some cash for the next step in a possible career.

Thanks to funding by the sponsors, the only cost for competing schools was their transportation to the event.

Each person who competed also got a $500 scholarship.