Brandon High School welding class sparking interests in trade

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Brandon Twp. — During the regular board of education meeting on April 15, Brandon High School welding and CAD instructor Mason DePottey provided an update on the welding class, as well as new classes coming next school year.
“Mason has been a fantastic addition to the high school staff,” said BHS Principal Dan Stevens. “Kids are clamoring for his classes.”
Currently there are 19 students in the welding class. The students start by welding on a metal plate until they have the technique down, and then move on to personal projects.
“We have fantastic welders, we have some of the best welders in the county,” said DePottey. “Usually, whatever they’re going to make, I have them make two of them. One to stay at the school for presentations or to show other students what we can make, and then one to take home.”
In addition to personal projects, the students have taken to fixing desks at the high school. So far they’ve fixed 33 in the last few months.
“All those desk that we used to throw away because we couldn’t fix them, now they go down to the metal shop,” said Stevens.
Overall, the students each get around 53 hours of welding per semester.
“That is wonderful for a high school,” said DePottey. “We only have an hour a day with them, and it’s wonderful to see.”
Over the summer, DePottey plans to install three more welding booths, bringing the total up to 13 welding booths in the shop room. Next year, they will also introduce a small engine repair class.
“We are partnering with Timothy’s tractors, they are a small engine supplier, they sell used as well,” said DePottey. “We’re getting used mowers, used equipment. These students will learn to tear down an engine, rebuild engines, work with the community. We will try to promote the community bringing in their broken lawn mower, their broken weed whacker, and we’ll charge them the cost of materials. It’ll help the community and give the kids something to do.”
The small engine repair class will take place in the welding shop.
“The kids are really looking forward to it,” said DePottey.

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