JONESBORO,AR (KAIT) - The 3rd annual Northeast Arkansas Weld-a-Thon competition kickedoff bright and early Friday morning at the ASU Newport campus in Jonesboro.
EventCoordinator Nick Garner says when he looks back at the small number of studentswho participated that first year, it's amazing to see how they've grown. "It'sgrown so much since 2010," Garner said. "We started that year withonly 14 students and now we're up to fourteen different schools and over fortystudents."
Garnersays this started three years ago as just an idea. "Ken and I got togetherand we decided we wanted to do something for the local high schools,"Garner stated. "You know, there are no other competitions around thisarea. And so, we just decided we were going to do it and we got it together andit's taken off."
ParagouldHigh School student Saul Steward says he's no stranger to the NEA Weld-a-Thon competition."This is my second year to come," Steward said. "I love it. It'sa great competition. I won last year. I got second place and my brother got firstplace so, it's in the family I guess."
Garnersays the students take away a variety of life skills by competing in thiscompetition. "They get a sense of being able to work as a team for onething," Garner said. "A lot of these kids go to different competitionsso this is a good stepping stone for them to learn what they need when they goto these competitions."
Garnersays the competition is a chance to expose students to what options are outthere and waiting on them. "It's a great learning opportunity,"Garner said. "They get to come out here and not only do they get to worktogether and build a project, but they get to see a lot of the new equipmentand technology that's coming out in the welding field."
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