ESAB announced the six winners of its 2015 "A Cut Above" contest for students in welding and cutting programs at secondary and post-secondary schools. Three individual winners won a $250 cash prize for their winning essay on the theme of "A Cut Above," describing how cutting and welding have influenced their lives. In addition, each member of three winning teams will receive $500 for their submission of a metal fabrication project that incorporates both welding and cutting. All schools associated with the winners also won a cutting, welding and gas control package valued at $4,000. Products in the package included an ESAB Migmaster® 215 Pro Ready-to-Weld Package, a Victor® Medalist 250 Medium Duty Cutting System, a Thermal Dynamics® Cutmasterä 42 Air Plasma Cutting Outfit and two ESAB Aristoâ Tech HD high definition welding helmets.

The 2015 individual winners were Adele Tantalo, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Newbern, Tenn. (instructor James Daniels); Roxanne Desrosiers, SAIT Polytechnic, Calgary, AB (instructor Tim Richardson); and Carly Loving, McMinnville High School, McMinnville, Ore. (instructor Chip Ford). The 2015 team winners were Bobby Wallace, Eve Torres, Braden King, Daniel Teniente and Andy Ochoa, Denton LaGrone AdvancedTechnology Complex, Denton, Texas (instructor Rebecca Hendricks); Austin Erickson, Sam Moore, Pedro Rosario and Jamison Dimeco, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, Marlborough, Mass. (instructor Chris Wittmier); and Mitchell Cutsforth, Chris Smith, Nic Ostrander and Andrew Meyer, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. (instructor David Murray).

Setting the Stage

Winning student Adele Tantalo wrote that welding helped her learn patience by forcing her to slow down and focus on what was in front of her. "I started to see the progress I was making by slowing down and allowing myself to make mistakes," says Tantalo. "I saw that every failed test plate was a learning opportunity."

Tantalo, for whom addiction was a former way of life, welcomes the renewed sense of direction welding brings to her world. "Welding has given me a sense of purpose and direction in my life," says Tantalo. "I have found peace and contentment in my welding booth. To me, each bead I run further cements the bonds of my sobriety and my future career in the welding field."

Individual winner Carly Loving plans to apply her welding skills and knowledge to a structural engineering position. "Structural engineers design the buildings, bridges, or houses that welders, along with other construction workers, actually build," says Loving. "I know learning how to weld will make me a better engineer."

Roxanne Desrosiers writes about feeling inspired — not discouraged — by unsupportive friends who told her that welding "is a man's job" and that she "won't be as good as them." She responded by working harder. "These comments drove me to prove them wrong, and I did," says Desrosiers. "I worked hard, harder than most, and my hard work was recognized by my instructor Barry Gordy. I was rewarded with the first of my scholarships."   

Group winners submitted well-documented projects that included equipment, materials, photos, assembly steps and more. The Ferris State team helped to erect a 35-foot bell tower that represents three local churches joining together to become one stronger congregation. Winners from Denton LaGrone ATC constructed a set of eight benches, each representing different ATC departments, to seat a class of 24 students outdoors. Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Students chose to build a bulldozer to represent Victor's legacy in building and maintaining heavy equipment in the construction and mining trades. Their project statement confirms their commitment to Victor cutting equipment: "When you think of cutting, you think of a Victor torch."

Bill Wehrman, Global Marketing Communications Manager, says that, "ESAB salutes all the contest winners for their ability, innovation and initiative to go 'a cut above' the average student. We also salute instructors everywhere who create a rich learning environment so students can prosper."

ESAB plans to continue the A Cut Above student contest in 2016, with details to be announced in the coming months.

Assabet Valley Regional Technical School

This sculpture represents Victor's legacy in building and maintaining heavy equipment
in the construction and mining trades. From Assabet Valley Regional Technical High

School are (L-R) Pedro Rosario, Austin Erickson, instructor George Aziz and Jamison

DiMeco; not pictured Sam Moore.


Denton LaGrone ATC

The winners from Denton LaGrone ATC constructed at total of eight benches to
seat an outdoor class. Pictured are (L-R) Andy Ochoa, Eve Torres, instructor
Rebecca Hendricks, Bobby Wallace and Daniel Teniente.
Photo by photography students Juan Ocampo and Brianna McQuee.


Carly Loving

McMinnville High School student Carly Loving has her sights set on a structural
engineering position, saying, "I know learning how to weld will make me a better engineer."


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