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Helena and East Helena High School students compete in 11th Annual Weld-Off

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Jan 19, 2023

HELENA — With a torch of inspiration in their hands and spirit in their fingers, East Helena and Helena High School students faced off on Thursday for their annual weld-off.

For this year's competition, the event had four teams of students paired up. The teams were tasked with creating interactive structures out of donated scrap metal with only four hours to complete their work.

This year's theme was "vehicles" and students' work was encouraged to have moving parts. Judges will score the work based on technical welding skills and creativity.

Helena High School Welding Instructor Cindy Galbavy says while this is a fun activity to participate in, it's also a way to shape life skills for the future.

"When the Helena school district built the three elementary schools, we had students from both high schools working on those sites and from all the way from the concrete to the metal work to the finishing work where our former students building those schools and that's what's worth our teaching careers, is you want that," said Galbavy.

The Helena High School American Welding Society Club isn't only for students who seek a future in a welding career, it's also for students to get out, learn other life skills, and forge friendships with other students.

"We're not just pushing. You only can be a welder. There's just so many opportunities for these students," said Galbavy.

With the donated scrap they get from the community to build on their welding skills, they give back.

"We have lots of projects we give back to the community and the community gives us projects to work on so that we can give back their skills. You'll see a lot of our art projects, sculptures, centennial park, the fourth course up by the hospital. Montana city has one of ours. We just have a lot of pieces that we give back," said Galbavy

The final designs were revealed Thursday night for the public to see.