Students from six schools participated in two categories—a team fabrication project or essay competition—centered on the Rulers of the Flame theme. Joshua Doyle from Springfield Clark Career Technology Center in Ohio (instructor Brian Sheward), Kyle Hiener from Oxarc Welding School in Washington (instructor Andrew Delateur) and Elizabeth Chaney from Carroll County Career & Technology Center in Maryland (instructor Michael Schweinsberg) emerged as the individual winners.
Winning students described how oxy-fuel processes (cutting, heating, welding, brazing) and working with oxy-fuel equipment have shaped their character, affected their daily lives or the lives of others, influenced something they’re passionate about, and will empower their future careers.
The team winners hail from Iron Workers 40 & 361 Training Center in New York (students Sandy Matos, Anthony Larkin, Anastasiya Grishkevich and Mark Thomas), Rockland BOCES in New York (students Thomas McKenna, Tyler Moore, Kevin Onderdonk, Robert Shields and Robert Himelfarb) and Ogden-Weber Technical College in Utah (students Darby McClelland, Michael Oakes, Colby Marker and Christopher Oakes).
Winning projects, respectively, were, a “Stairway to Success,” inspired by artist MC Escher’s famous Relativity staircase cut into a twisted I-beam; “King of the Mountain,” appropriately named for an impressive off-road truck climbing an I-beam mountain; and “The Fire Pit,” an elaborate hexagonal show of flames.
Each winning team member and individual essay winner member secured a $250 cash prize, in addition to a Victor Medalist 350 Outfit, and each school associated with the winners received a cutting and welding package valued at more than $8,400 that included:
- Two Victor Journeyman EDGE 2.0 Outfits and an assortment of Victor tips for cutting various thicknesses of metal
- One Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 60i Manual Plasma System
- One ESAB Rebel EMP 235ic Welding System
- Two Sentinel helmets
- Six pairs of MIG gloves and six pairs of TIG gloves
“Victor continues to partner with schools and industry to promote technical education and careers,” said Bill Wehrman, global/North American marketing communications at ESAB. “The critical role they play cannot be overstated. The Rulers of the Flame student contest encourages students to realize the benefits of technical education, acquire skills that lead to good careers and foster the sense of pride crafts people feel for a job well done.”
No matter the contest category, all the winners expressed a passion for welding and a newfound understanding of the oxy-fuel process.
“I didn’t write the essay to win. I wanted to write what I felt so you could understand how passionate I am about this industry and the oxy-fuel process,” Doyle said. “I didn’t even know there was a $250 prize when I wrote the essay.”
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