Since 2018, the Clarke Schools’ Industrial Arts class, led by instructor Dave Lyden, has come together at the end of each year to showcase student achievements in an annual welding event. In partnership with the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) and the Clarke Industrial Technology Advisory Board, the students team up with local professionals to learn about real life scenarios found in the art of welding. Each year, the event has evolved, involving more participants and more detailed projects, while spreading beyond the school and into the surrounding community.

Click to view photos from the day’s event:

“This is a tremendous opportunity for these students,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “The impact the Tech Advisory Board has on the students and the skills they can pick up in these events will enable them to move on to bright futures within our manufacturing community.”

This year, with more students involved than ever before, the event was moved from the Clarke Industrial Arts department to the SWCC campus. There, seven teams of three to four students partnered with representatives from the Clarke Industrial Technology Advisory board, including mentors from Altec, Hormel Foods (Osceola Foods), Iowa Steel, Miller Products Company, Mueller Products, Co., SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc., and Salford Group. Each team was presented with a custom park bench fabrication project, prepared by advisory board member companies, designed to test the industrial arts students. The bench design was done by McCormick Evink a student in Mr. Lyden’s CAD class.

“Seeing the kids collaborate and work through each challenge is the fun part,” said Julie Long, Engineer at Miller Products Company. “These are the skills that will last them a lifetime.”

As the day progressed, each student was presented with a variety of welding challenges, from basic tacking and grinding to MIG (metal inert gas) welding and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding. With the guidance of advisory board members / mentors, the students were given an opportunity to exercise their skills at each level and learn the best practices for welding various kinds of metals, all within the same project.

“These students have worked hard all year,” said Lyden. “With COVID and the uncertainty of even being able to be in class, this event really gave each student, at every skill level, something to work toward.”

Click to view photos of the final benches from the event:

Ultimately, the seven teams each finished their bench customized with their sponsors’ name as well as a plaque showing the name of each event participant. After being sandblasted and painted by the team at Salford, the benches will be given to the City of Osceola Parks department to be stationed around the trail system by East Lake Park.

For more information on the Industrial Arts Advisory Board, the Industrial Arts Welding Event, or where the student benches can be seen, please contact Mr. Lyden, Industrial Arts Instructor at Clarke Community Schools at 641-342-6505.