By Denise Dick
Daurrell Miller, 17, a junior at Choffin Career and Technical Center, excels at hands-on activities. That’s why the school’s welding program appealed to him.
“I like to do construction,” Daurrell said. “I always wanted to do something — to build something — to help the community.”
It’s the first year for the welding program at the school, and 22 students are enrolled. Instructor Patrick Prokop said the first year involves an understanding of the different types of welding.
“Next year will be more intense because it will be focused on certification,” he said.
Students must be 18 to be certified in welding. All of the students in the class this year are juniors.
The aspiring welders must wear safety glasses and protective clothing to use the equipment. Sparks fly as they cut the metal.
For the last couple of days, the students have been creating a floor lamp that each will be able to take home. It’s their first project in the class.
The first year of the program focuses on teaching the students about different types of welding. During their senior year, they’ll be able to specialize in a particular type.
Exposure to the different types of welding makes the students more marketable when they look for jobs, the instructor said.
Welders are in demand, for example, in the burgeoning shale industry.
Montel Craft, 16, said he enrolled in the class because he wanted to learn something new and challenging.
He likes the class but says it’s difficult. He acknowledges, though, satisfaction when he can rise to the challenge.
Daurrell says the work involves patience.
“If you rush through it, you’ll mess it up,” he said. “You have to take measurements too so you have to be good at math.”
Dominique Felder, 16, is the class’s only girl.
“It seemed interesting,” she said. “I knew not many girls would be in welding.”
Dominique liked the idea of creating something.
“I like that I can look at something and say, ‘Yeah, I did that,’” she said. “It’s a sense of accomplishment.”