Cleveland High School’s welding students have enjoyed a banner year. Despite having many obstacles put in their path, including not being able to use the high school welding shop until December due to new power being installed, the students excelled, according to their instructor Jim Baxter.
“On our 2021 – 2022 Welding Team, we had 8 to 10 students that are in Intro to Welding. Some of the students started welding in competition at the beginning of the school year. For each competition, the students had a few weeks to learn how to weld each position 90 percent of them were able to learn it and to gain a certification,” Baxter said.
Six students earned certification and scholarships from Welding I. All of these students had little to no welding experience coming from Intro to Welding last year.
“These fine young men took on the challenge and worked every day during class and after school to earn all the certifications and Scholarships. In all of the competitions they were competing against mostly Welding II students from other schools all over Texas,” Baxter said.
For the Welding II students, 8 to 10 students earned several certifications and several scholarships for various trade schools.
“Among these students in Welding II, we have three that went above and beyond my own expectations. First, I would like to speak of Hector Guzman. Hector certified in all but three events that he competed in. He competed most of the year in Level IV which is the top level for the Texas High School Welding Series,” Baxter said.
Guzman earned $52,500 in scholarships. Counted into these scholarships, he earned a full tuition paid for Texas State Technical College (valued at $11,000) where he started his first class in August. Outside of the welding hood, Guzman has been the mentor for all underclassmen, providing pointers when they struggle in various weld positions.
Frankie Molina is another student Baxter highlighted. Molina started welding this school year with no welding experience at all.
“Frankie spent every day during class, after school and practices during holidays practicing various different welds. For this year, Frankie earned $9,000 on Scholarships and earned two certifications one for 2F GMAW AWS D9.1 and the other for 1G SMAW per AWS D1.1. Frankie is also attending ArcLabs Trade school after graduation where he will pursue his passion in welding,” Baxter said.
Another student, Zitlaly Rangel, is setting the bar for the future of female welders in the welding program. Despite being uncertain of her abilities to learn the trade, Rangel has excelled, earning certification for 2F SMAW AWS D9.1 and a certification for 1G Backing Strip FCAW per AWS D1.1. Zitlaly has also earned $21,000 in scholarships to various welding schools and has been offered full tuition to TSTC ($11,000).
“In comparison, last year our welding team earned 21 Certifications and $15,000 in scholarships. I am amazed to announce that this year our award-winning welding program earned 83 Certification per AWS D9.1 or D1.1 and earned a total of $195,700 in scholarships for various trade schools in Texas. For next year 2022 – 2023 school year I am certain that the returning students will do as well or better next year,” Baxter said.