Welding club events provide ways to fund scholarships

SPSCC Welding Club’s Sculpting for Scholarships program has hosted three events this month. Students created bronze casted pieces to be sold to the SPSCC Foundation for welding scholarships.

Michael Fredette, a welding instructor at SPSCC for the last five years, said he is excited to start seeing the benefits to welding students from the scholarship program.

The club has grown from 12 members five years ago to 50 members now, said Fredette.

The club will sell the art to the Foundation at a discounted price, to be resold for profit, according to Fredette. Profits will go to the Welding Department Scholarship Fund.

Six members attended “The Art of Forging Steel” Oct. 18, demonstrated by Kelly Riggs, a hired vendor. Getting to go through the 18th-century nail-making process with no electricity was very exciting, said Michael Land, club member.

Tony Luce, club member, said he hoped there would be more welding club events. Luce said he hopes to have a future in the welding industry because he has found passion in a skill not many people share.

The welding events are for welding club members only, but joining the club is free, and anyone interested can contact Fredette. Students do not have to take welding classes to join the club.

Offering more diverse activities in the welding program has drawn more students to the club, said Marycolleen Foley, club ambassador. The club also offers teachings in bronzing and blacksmithing.

Foley said it is great that a community college can offer all this for free to students.

The Evergreen State College has offered a bronze casting class before, but it was $1,700 per student for a six week period. Most students also did not receive their own bronze piece, said Foley. SPSCC has offered similar programs and events to students free of charge.

Welding Instructor Allan Burns said he loves to share his knowledge of welding with others and to see them grow in their skills.

The welding program shows students that welding is an art as well as an industrial process, he said.

The last welding event of the month included Don Berry, a world-reknown welding artist, and his team. They demonstrated the art of patina with a presentation “Heart of the Gorge Bronze.”

Other welding events in October were bronze casting for scholarships Oct. 8 and patinas for the bronze casting on October 29.

For more information about the Welding Club, visit http://www.weldingclub.org.