Northwest Technical Institute Sponsors Scholarship Competition in AR

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In Arkansas, students arrived by the busload to compete for scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 for agricultural mechanics and electrical work this week at Springdale High.  The welding students showed their stuff using torches fueled by oxygen and acetylene as they raced against the clock (and each other) to weld the three plates of cold-rolled steel together.

SPRINGDALE : Students wire, weld in scholarship contest

Posted on Saturday, March 7, 2009

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/WILLIAM MOORE Randon Ritchie, a senior at Springdale High School, lights his welding torch during the Agricultural Mechanics and Electrical competition Friday at Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale.

Down the hall at the welding contest, nine students are handed three small plates of cold-rolled steel and torches fueled by oxygen and acetylene.

“The first two plates will have a flat weld,” the Northwest Technical welding instructor, John Martin, tells the young men, meaning they must place them horizontally on the surface of the work table. They are to attach the third plate to the other two while leaning the plates vertically against some masonry blocks.

Randon Ritchie, 19, of Springdale High School is among the students to fire up a torch and complete the assignment.

“I’d like to weld for a living – but not this kind,” Ritchie said afterward.

Martin said this kind of basic torch welding helps build skills for other more commonly used styles of welding such as tungsten inert gas welding (more commonly known as TIG), the metal inert gas welding that Ritchie favors, or stick welding.

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