Taylor Shannon and Anna Daniels are both seniors at Ider High School, and the two are the first female high school students to compete at the state SkillsUSA competition in the welding category.
Both students are participants in the Welding Technology Program at the DeKalb County Technology Center.
At the school board meeting Thursday, Jonathan Phillips, director of DeKalb County Technology Center, introduced the welding program instructor, Russell McFall, and students, Shannon and Daniels.
He said to qualify for this competition a candidate must place in the top 3 in their district competition, placing 15 competitors at the state level contest.
Shannon placed first in the district competition, and Daniels placed third.
According to McFall, the second-place qualifying student was from another county.
“The crazy thing is these ladies have only had two years of welding classes, whereas most of the other students have four years learning the trade,” McFall said.
McFall told the board and audience of the list of accomplishments these students have to be proud of, including scholarships the two students earned to continue their education in welding.
He said Shannon is the first females in the state of Alabama to pass a 6G bend pipe test at the high school level with the stick process, and the first female to win the Drake State welding competition back-to-back. She’ s also the first female to win the Northeast District in the advanced welding contest.
According to McFall, she has won a full-ride scholarship to Drake State Technical College for placing first in the advanced competition and a full-ride scholarship to Gadsden State Community College for placing first in the district advanced competition.
McFall said Daniels is the first female to win the Northeast District in the beginner welding contest, and the first female in the state of Alabama to pass an X-ray pipe test at the high school level with the tig process.
He said she also received a $1,000 scholarship for being the March “Go Build Alabama Student of the Month.”
Together, McFall said they are the only females in the state that have pipe certifications at the high school level; they are the only females to win or place in the top 3 back-to-back years in any district welding competitions in the state; and they have both passed the 3G plate stress bend test using the flux core process and have become certified for vertical, horizontal and flat positions on plate and fillet welds.
“They will both receive short term welding certifications at Northeast Alabama Community College,” McFall said, “and they will graduate high school and college at the same time.”
McFall said upon graduation the girls will both have OSHA 10 Safety and NCCER Core Curriculum certifications.
He said both girls say they are considering furthering their education in welding.