For the past three years, Clarke Community Schools and the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) have collaborated with local business leaders to create advisory boards that will help students participate in activities that could lead to future careers in Clarke County. Friday afternoon, the Industrial Tech Advisory Board, Clarke Students and local manufacturer mentors teamed up for their second annual welding event. This time, instead of a sculpture competition, the students took on a community project that will have a lasting impact on families and visitors to the area.

With the help of local mentors from Altec, Osceola Foods, Iowa Steel, Salford, and Miller Products, each student team assembled a custom designed bench that will be placed around the City’s ever-expanding trail system.

“This is a perfect learning scenario,” said Julie Long, Quality Engineer from Miller Products Company. “The students are given direction from professionals in the field to produce a uniformed piece with specific structure and quality. This is as close to ‘real-life’ as it gets.”

The event started off days before with Altec and Salford manufacturing the pieces the students would assemble for the event. Salford fabricated the frame and arm rests for the benches while Altec, on their laser cutting table, crafted the five unique backs with each of the mentor manufacturing company names. The pieces were then given to the student teams as a puzzle, so-to-speak, to assemble through welding and fabrication techniques they have been learning though the Industrial technology program.

“I’m blown away with the support and commitment we’ve received from our local manufacturers and the Development Corporation for these events,” said Dave Lyden, Clarke’s Industrial Technology Instructor. “This is a big win for the kids and the entire community.”

Students were assigned teams with a mentor from each of the participating manufacturers. Team Altec consisted of TJ Woods (11), Matthew Dudney (10), Caden Kistler (10), and Colten Schnieders (9) led by Altec’s Danny Caputo.  Team Osceola Foods consisted of Layne Short (11), Jose Galvez (11), Romeo Melendez (11), and Kaeden Heitcamp (11) led by Osceola Food’s Andre Smith and Dave Kelso. The Iowa Steel team was comprised of Dean Spalding (10), Steven Hiatt (9), Houston Sonius (10), and Kayden Schnick (9) with Todd Eddy from Iowa Steel as mentor. Team Salford consisted of Konrad Boyer (9), Eli Gallardo (9), Robby Richards (12), and Payton Glasener (9) led by Salford’s Shawn Harrah and Ryan Simmerman.  And Team Miller hosted Clayton Allen (9), Rene Garza (11), David Kosman (9), and Justin Pena (9) lead by Miller’s Gregg Black and Julie Long.

The event resulted in five beautiful benches that will be sandblasted, painted and finished with a white name plate behind the laser-cut backs and placed throughout the trail system around Osceola and Clarke County.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better addition to our trails,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “These pieces show how strong our community is when everyone comes together for a common purpose.”

Additional Advisory Boards through CCDC and Clarke Community Schools include a Medical Professions Advisory Board as well as a Hospitality Trade Advisory Board. If you would like more information on how you or a student you know can participate in similar events, you’re encouraged to reach out to the Clarke County Development Corporation at 641-342-2944 or Clarke Community Schools at 641-342-6505 for further details.

If you would like more information specifically on the welding event or the Industrial Technology Advisory Board, contact David Lyden, Clarke Industrial Tech Instructor through the school or email [email protected]