Students Score Big in Welding Contest

5/1/2014 11:22:59 AM

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2014 Virtual Welding Contest

Four Southwestern Illinois College students demonstrated their talent in welding at a recent skill competition.

Students Brian Hall of Collinsville and DeAndre LePrade of Shiloh tied for first place while Zack Burdynski of Grantie City took second place and Nick Hiatt of Collinsville came in fourth at the American Welding Society Mini Welding Show Virtual Welding Contest held recently at Cee Kay Supply in St. Louis, Mo. Hall won a new welding helmet for his efforts, after a weld-off with LePrade.

The competitive field was not slim, either: about 17 other students competed.

“They showed-up everybody,” said SWIC Welding Technology Instructor Kevin Bonham. “They held their top positions even as more students competed, even though a few of them hadn’t been welding more than a few weeks.”

One of those students was LePrade.

“I was only two weeks into welding school,” he said. “Winning was a real eye-opener.”

He said he plans to pursue an Associate in Applied Science degree. He has the skills, after all.

“This has been a great life experience.”

Teammate Hall agreed.

“I was thrilled to win the helmet,” Hall said. “It’s been 12 years since I was in high school. But I decided to better myself and go to college. I enjoy going to class every night.”

For more information on the SWIC Welding Technology program, call 618-931-0600, ext. 7475.