Cochise College hosts 20th annual high school welding competition

The 20th annual Cochise College high school welding competition took place in the Career and Technical Building recently on the Sierra Vista Campus.

Participants included 30 students from high schools all across Arizona including Benson, Bowie, Buena, Douglas, Elfrida, Monument, San Simon, Skyline, St. David, and Valley Union. “The program has grown each year,” said Scott Brown, Cochise College welding instructor, and competition coordinator. “This is the time where students can show their knowledge, skills and ability to use various welding tools and processes.”

Each student who participated in the competition tested on shield metal arc welding, oxy-fuel cutting, gas metal arc welding, oxy-fuel welding and also had to complete one written exam.

Since welding is part of our everyday lives, used in manufacturing kitchen appliances to airplanes to cars, it has become a very popular program at Cochise College. “Every semester, the welding technology program fills up close to capacity,” added Brown.

As the sparks flew and the heat turned up, the student welders were divided into groups and given the materials needed. Students who participated in the competition received a tour of the welding lab, blueprints, instructions, competition rules, procedures and materials. Students made sure to bring personal protective equipment. The college provided the facility, staff and materials. Local companies and industry leaders generously provided the prizes. The following are the winners.

First Place – Ryan Pietryga, 11th grade, Skyline

Second Place – Robert Conser, 11th grade St. David

Third Place –  Denton Fenn, 11th grade, Benson

“Learning the ropes of a new trade can be time-consuming. You need to become familiar with the entire working process from start to finish and master each level before moving on. This attention to detail is what makes a great welder and a more versatile potential employee,” Brown said. For more information about the Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology or the welding certificates, please contact an advisor at (520) 515-5483 (Sierra Vista) or (520) 417-4038 (Douglas).