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Cuesta’s welding teams take first place in state competition 

Cuesta Welding Team

The Cuesta College Welding Thunder teams of four women, four men and a Cuesta College instructor stand with their top-ranking builds, hot dog-themed carts. Left to right: Students Lauren Beshears, Wendy Jeffries, McKenna Jeffries, Sierra Menchaca, Cuesta College Welding Instructor Mike Fontes, students Pepe Sanchez, Zach Martin, AJ Van Dell and Tim O’Clair.

A total of eight Cuesta College welding students took home first place recently at the 2014 Welders Without Borders: Welding Thunder, a portable welding competition designed to allow instructors and students to work together and showcase their skills in a fun and competitive manner. Six teams from various California high schools and colleges competed; Cuesta College was represented by one team consisting of four men and another of four women.

The event was held at Santa Ana Community College, Oct. 10-11, where the teams built and customized welding fabrications projects under the theme “BBQ Build & Cook Off.” The men’s team placed first overall, while the women received first in Women’s Team and first place in Technical Design. Both teams tied for first place for best individual theme: “Beer, Wine, & BBQ Time.” Over the course of two days, the teams built hot dog-themed BBQ carts.

“Once again, Cuesta’s welding students prove to be the best of the best,” said Mike Fontes, Cuesta College welding instructor. “Working side-by-side with my students was a great way for us to collaborate, learn from each other and help one another become even better welders.”

Welding Thunder began in Arizona in 2012; this was the first time the event was held in California. Over the years, Cuesta College’s Career Technical Education programs have regularly placed high in competitive events. In July, Cuesta College’s welding fabrication team brought home gold from the 50th Annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. In August of 2015, the WorldSkills International competition will take place in Brazil and involve more than 60 countries. For the second time, Cuesta College will send one of its students to compete; Michael Mullen, who will go for the gold in auto service technology.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.