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Welding students help community

PROJECT-BASED LEARNING — Jesse McLeod, a senior welding student at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, creates a positioner tool for welding as part of his project-based learning. Instructor Todd Parker said juniors and seniors are completing projects that showcase their skills and also help the school or community. (Contributed photo)

BLOOMINGDALE — Welding students are gaining experience by performing project-based learning at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School.

About 32 pupils are completing projects throughout the year and instructor Todd Parker said the results benefit students, the school and community they serve.

“I call it project-based learning and the students will complete a project, and oftentimes it’s a customer service or a lab improvement,” said Parker. “It may be a need in the community, such as a mower deck repair or building custom boat trailers or repairs for a local business.”

He added that juniors complete projects such as making horseshoe crosses to benefit the American Cancer Society in a show of community mindedness.

Participating students note that they gain a lot of knowledge completing the tasks to prepare them for their future. Senior Jesse McLeod was working on a positioner to turn the pipe for welding, which would benefit his program lab.

“Mr. Parker selected me to do it,” he said, adding the project would take up to two hours to complete. “We will use this in class. This is the first project this year to upgrade the shop. I feel like it will help the school a lot. It will give us something to help welding a little faster.”

Seniors Matthew Truby and Gage Hook were preparing a motorcycle mount for a trailer and said they have done a few projects as JVS students. They added that they hope to work in the welding field after graduation and they have learned a lot at the school to get ready.

“It’s enjoyable,” Hook added, saying he gained experience at the JVS.

Parker said students learn what it is like as if they were on an actual job.

“We give a deadline to try to make it as close as possible to what’s done in the industry,” Parker said. “We do projects that showcase their skills.”

Customers pay costs for materials and make an in-kind donation which may help defray costs for field trips for needy students or go to a charitable organization. Parker said his classes have used proceeds to adopt needy children to help at Christmas.

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