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Welding Fab heads to Nationals

Haley Williams, Managing Editor

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Senior Cory Snowden’s hands shook uncontrollably as his confidence was replaced with doubt. He and other members of the Welding Fabrications team waited impatiently for the results at the State SkillsUSA awards ceremony in Corpus Christi, when they heard the announcer say, “Gold Medal – from Lufkin High School, Team C.” In that moment all of his team’s hard work paid off.

“I was really nervous,” Snowden said. “My hands were shaking and I was convinced that we weren’t going to advance.”

This is the second consecutive year which welding teacher Jeffrey Pillows will be taking students to the National level SkillsUSA competition.

“This year will be my 6th time at nationals,” Pillows said. This will be the first time I have actually taken a fab [welding fabrication]  team. Out of all the times I went, three times were for individual welders and twice was for a job skills demonstration.”

Welding fabrication is a team of three coming together and building a project under a time limit then the following day each member of the team takes a welding test consisting of 50 questions.

“Welding fabrication, Joseph [Basham], Cory, Daniel [Banks] has to come up with a design based on a materials list provided by SkillsUSA,” Pillows said. “Once they come up with their design they submit the blueprints to the welding chair of SkillsUSA and then they have to build their project with the material provided in six and a half hours and any material or scrap left over can’t be over 5 lbs; you have to use almost all the material provided.”

Hours of hard work on similar welding projects has managed to get the team this far.

“Cory and I have been working on this since last year,” Basham said. “When we didn’t make it to Nationals last year we figured out what we needed to work on.”

Teamwork is a huge factor in this competition, and is one of the big reasons the boys advanced.

“I was surprised by the level of competition that was there that they took first place,” Pillows said. “This is the first year, though, that I actually had a fab team that could work together as a team to win.”

Each member was constantly doing something to beat the clock and have to project done within the time limit.

“If Cory and Joseph were making the welds, I was cleaning up the welds to make it look presentable,” Banks said. “One of us was always tacting, welding and cleaning up the welds. We had to have the others back to be able to finish.”

Making it to the National level is a big accomplishment but there is still work to be done.

“What they’re [the boys] having to do right now is actually come up with a design,” Pillows said. “Once they get their design pretty much milled down and get a drawing made on it we will start getting materials together and once we have the materials the same that will be given to them at the competition, we will set up a Saturday that they can come up here and build the project for six and a half hours.”

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Lufkin High School's online student newspaper
Welding Fab heads to Nationals