Adair County High School’s welding program is one of its most popular and successful career paths, churning out certified welders ready to start an exciting career as soon as they graduate. To prepare his students for the field’s vast employment opportunities, instructor Barney Taylor looks for ways to give his students real-world experience.
“What you’ll be doing in a job is a lot more than just welding in a booth,” Taylor says. “The hands-on projects we do give them that experience that they’ll need when they go to work.”
Several of Taylor’s students recently completed three such projects: a charcoal grill, metal lettering on the walls outside the brand-new Virtual Learning Center, and a new gate at the entrance of Adair County Primary Center.
“The gate and the lettering, those are things that can save the district a little money and help our kids gain experience at the same time,” Taylor says. “The grill is for Bethany Baptist Church.”
Justin Brockman, Gabe Cowan, Xavier Mathis, and Dillion Oglesby-Graves built the grill, and the same foursome also did the majority of work on the gate, along with Corey Melton. Abby Gunter, one of Taylor’s two female welding students, did the letters. All of the students involved in the projects are juniors.
“The juniors usually do most of the projects like this,” Taylor explains. “Seniors are working on getting their certification. We try to get them certified by Christmas of their senior year, and if they do that then they can do co-op and work during the second semester, as long as they have a welding-related job.”
There are more than 100 students, ranging from sophomores through seniors, in Taylor’s welding program this year. “It’s a good opportunity for them,” Taylor says. “If they’re willing to put in the work, they won’t have any trouble finding a job.”
By Wes Feese
Media Relations, Adair County Schools