Welding class teams up with businesses to make Christmas tree stands

HILLMAN – Hillman High School career and technical education welding students have been working on a fabrication project making Christmas tree stands in conjunction with Moran Iron Works, Inc. and Horrock’s Farm Market. The stands are built for large trees that are displayed in facilities such as shopping malls, churches and public buildings.

Moran Iron Works was an essential part in the program, with owner Tom Moran supplying many of the materials needed for the project, and allowing the students into his shop to prepare some of the parts needed for the stands.

“We had a little less than an hour in class each day to work on the stands,” welding student Charles Spencer said. “In order to get the project done we came in on the weekends and stayed a lot of days after school to work.”

The students had to work together to organize the project and put together all the pieces and parts to make the stands sturdy and durable.

“There are days it was like an assembly line,” Kyle Peck said. “It was a good experience and was fun. The hardest parts were welding in a circle and getting all of the stands painted.”

To paint each part of the stands, students had the entire shop floor covered in plywood and newspaper and all 80 stands with different pieces spread throughout the shop to paint evenly and let dry.

“We had to paint before the weekend,” shop teacher Josh Brege said. “During the week we have different students in here and couldn’t have sawdust from the wood shop getting in the paint. It was a big job.”

Brege said the students put a lot of hard work into the project especially with the time constraint of just over a month to complete the stands.

“It was interesting watching things come together,” Zach Elswick said. “Not a lot of schools get the opportunity to do something like this.”

Jim Hall, representative of Horrock’s Farm Market, was pleased with the stands and the student’s work when he came to pick up the stands on Tuesday.

“I was surprised they got all 80 of them done,” Hall said. “Tom (Moran) has made them for us for a couple of years, and he came up with this idea to get the students involved. Stands like these last for generations and the students did a great job.”

Brege said the students volunteered to come in on the evenings to tack the stands together, and emphasized that the students did all the work on the project.

“Senior Allan Edgar took this on as one of his senior projects and really took pride and joy in his work,” Brege said. “They all did a tremendous amount of work during and outside of class. I couldn’t be prouder of the work they’ve done.”

During the build, Erin Brege’s broadcasting class documented every step of the project, and the broadcasting students plan to put it all together and show the hard work done by the welding class.

“It was great to have the support of the school board, Tom Moran, Jim Hall and Erin to make this project possible,” Brege said. “When Tom Moran came to me with the idea for doing the stands, I said I wasn’t in the business of being in business, I was in the business of educating students. This was not a financial effort, but a great experience for the students. It was a real-life experience for them. They saw something through from start to finish and did a great job.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.