BEAUMONT, Texas — For welding instructor David Hadnot, the opportunity for his students to travel from Burkeville to compete in Taylor Career Center’s welding contest on February 8 was an easy choice for him.

"I try them get them out as much [I can], so they can understand what is happening in the world," Hadnot said. "When they come down here, they are competing and competing well."

Students came from schools all across Southeast Texas for an opportunity to be crowned one of the top welders in the region. 

This was the first year that the contest was held at Taylor Career Center, and this move has been years in the making for event coordinator and instructor Dusty Green.  

 "This is my third year here, and having to go from putting everything on paper, a drawing, an idea, to getting the idea approved, and actually seeing the ventilation put in, that is very special," Green said.

Participants were tasked with building an object that looks similar to an I-beam. They were given the blueprint and then started the race against the clock. 

For students like Hailey Hicks, this was an opportunity to represent her school and she wanted to make sure she capitalized on this opportunity. 

“I love representing Burkeville, and there are many people at my school who don’t, but I do. Because we’re small and we don’t have many things that represent us, welding is one of the big ones and I think everyone takes pride in that," Hicks said. 

As more and more construction jobs become available in Southeast Texas, Green believes that the students picked the right profession to seek a career in. His hope is that they will walk away from this contest feeling inspired on their journey.

"I'm trying to get them prepared in the best way we can, so is the other teachers, at the different schools, by making them read the blueprint and knowing how to interpret that welding symbol and how to put it on metal," Green said. "We're trying our best to train them [for] where they are going to go after high school."  

This competition was one of the many that has been put on by the district this school year.