Sparks Fly As High School Students Compete - Cleveland Community College, Shelby, NC

Sparks Fly As High School Students Compete

Cleveland Community College held its very first high school welding competition on Wednesday, May 4. A total of sixteen students—four each from Burns, Crest, Kings Mountain and Shelby High Schools—competed.

Curtiss Rippy from Maco, and Michael Beatty from IMA served as judges for the competition. “When Dana (White, CCC instructor) called and asked me to be a judge I said I’d be honored. I think this is neat and believe it will help get kids interested (in welding),” said Rippy. “There’s a shortage of welders in the industry. It’s hard to find good welders.”

Competitors were given specifications to follow to create two different welds, one horizontal and one vertical. A set of 10 criteria, based on industry standards, were used to evaluate each competitor’s work. Both Ribby and Beatty expressed their hope that the competition will help get more young people interested in welding as a career.

“This is good for them,” said Beatty. “They can compare what they’ve learned against other students. This might motivate them to do better and learn more.” Beatty echoed Rippy’s comments about the shortage of welders and added that right now a good welder can “just about name their price.”

The Winners Are:

There were top winners from each school, plus overall first, second and third place winners. The top competitors from each school were:

Burns: Mackenzie Canipe

Crest: Jackson Pence

Kings Mountain: Cole Irby

Shelby: Gabe Dibruno

The top competitors from each school received a $1,000 scholarship from the Cleveland Community College Foundation to attend CCC’s welding program. The scholarship for the Crest winner came from the Michael David Scott Parsons Endowed Scholarship fund. Established by Parsons’ family and friends in his memory, the scholarship is awarded annually to a student enrolled in any vocational diploma program, with preference given to students in the welding program and students demonstrating financial need.

The overall winners were:

1st place – Jackson Pence, Crest High School

2nd place – Bradly Hawkins, Crest High School

3rd place – Mackenzie Canipe, Burns High School

These students received vendor-donated merchandise such as new welding helmets.

Learn more about CCC’s welding program.