On April 29, Cortny Purvis became the first Republic County High School student to qualify for theAmerican Welding Society (AWS) D1.2 aluminum welding certification. Purvis, a senior who plans to study welding at NCK Technical College, Beloit next year, had previously qualified for his AWS D1.1 steel certification in 2012 as a sophomore.
As a teacher aid for instructor Dan Stehlik, Purvis shared what he learned about aluminum welding with fellow student Micayla Pachta. On May 1, she became the second student to qualify for her AWS D1.2 aluminum certification. She is also the first high school girl at RCHS to qualify for a welding certification of the six or seven girls who have tried in previous years.
The high school certification training program at RCHS was begun in 2007, the result of an education/ business partnership with Reinke Manufacturing of Deshler, Nebraska. This high school program was the first nationally at that time to train and test high school students at AWS certification standards. Others have copied this training model including high schools in Deshler and Geneva, Nebraska and Concordia High School.
In December 2013 Hughstin Pachta was the 20th student at RCHS to qualify for steel certification. Ten more RCHS students are currently awaiting the results of their steel weld tests also administered on the days of the recent aluminum tests. The welding program at RCHS conducts evening GMAW welding classes for adults during the school year. Some held in conjunction with Cloud County Community College. All
RCHS 7th and 8th graders are given a brief introduction to welding skills, safety, and career possibilities. The program has also coordinated classes with the neighboring Pike Valley High School for some of their students to train for weld qualification. As Kansas high school certified welding students now graduate, the school should receive some funds under the 2013 Workforce Initiative (SB 155).