On March 8, 2019 DCTC Welding Instructor Russell McFall took 5 students to compete in the annual SkillsUSA Northeast Alabama District Contest held at Wallace State Community College. Ten counties that make up the Northeast District came together to compete for the top 3 spots to represent their district at the state level. The contest consisted of an advanced and beginner category.
Advanced students had to complete 3 welding projects using 3 different processes for each one in multiple positions along with an oxy fuel cutting project, in addition to written exam. Easton Samples from Plainview High School received a silver medal for placing 2nd in the advanced category. Dakota Atchley from Sylvania High School received a bronze medal for placing 3rd in the advanced category.
Beginner students had to complete a welding project with 2 different welding rods in multiple positions using the stick process for their test. Payton Ervin from Fort Payne High School received a silver medal for placing 2nd in the beginner category.
Because these three young men placed in the top 3 of their respective categories, they will go on to represent the Northeast District for the state title competition in Birmingham.
McFall explained, “SkillsUSA State Welding Championships in Career Tech Education are different than sports like basketball and football. We have 5 total districts across the state with multiple counties in them that make up a district. So each district has a contest with all of their counties to decide who is the top 3. Each district brings their top 3 that placed in their competitions to Birmingham for the state competition. So you’re looking at only 15 total students that compete in the advanced category, and 15 total students that compete in the beginner category titles.
McFall added, “I am so proud of the way my students performed under pressure. It’s very hard to have guys place in both beginner and advanced categories in our district, considering there are so many schools in the counties of the Northeast District. Our district is known for being one of the hardest in the state to compete in. It’s nice to see the hard work pay off, so we feel fortunate. But you also get out what you put in, so I’m really happy for the students and their achievements.” DeKalb County Career Tech Director Jonathan Phillips stated, “I’m extremely proud of these guys and what they were able to accomplish on the district level. I’m looking forward to seeing them compete for a state title next month in Birmingham. Great job by Mr. Russ McFall and his students.”