“You gotta burn ‘em to learn ‘em,” is Strom Thurmond Career and Technical Center’s welding instructor, Bill Cheatham’s motto. An industry professional before coming to STCTC, Mr. Cheatham, affectionately called “Mr. Bill” by his students, is shaping them into real welders.

Just recently, Coach Mack Hite, STHS Athletic Director, approached Mr. Cheatham about a dilemma he was having in painting the athletic fields. After looking online for a high tech machine that would paint hard to angle lines, Mr. Cheatham and his students, Allen Roberson and Rush Yonce, built fabricated their own; and it works like a charm. The best part is, instead of spending $2000 dollars for the online version, the welding department’s cost a mere $400! Coach Hite is thrilled for two reasons. He professed, “It’s so exciting to have professionals on campus providing real work experience for our students that will ultimately benefit their future as well as benefit our athletic department.”

At the end of last year’s soccer season, as the team was discussing improvements for next season, two students from Mr. Cheatham’s pleaded for a new soccer goals. Along with their coach, Paul Bundy, the students brought up the possibility of the welding department building those soccer goals. After Coach Hite provided the measurements, third year welders, Bradley Kemp and Stetson Mayson, under Mr. Cheatham’s supervision, will use aluminum rectangular tubing to create the goals before the start of this year’s soccer season.

In a like manner, Mr. Lewis Burt, veteran building and construction teacher, has his students fabricating cubbies for hats/helmets and a caddy for bats in both dugouts for the baseball field. His classes also “hammered out” a plan and took part in the building and painting (STHS blue) of this commissioned work, all the while gaining valuable skills and know-how. STCTC: Education that works to engage, empower and enrich!

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STCTC Welders and Builders: Clockwise from top and L-R Stetson Mayson and Bradley Kemp using their welding skills. Bottom right – L-R Victor Vera Arteaga and Jorge Vazquez carefully use a T-square to measure roofing shingles. Bottom left – Mr. Lewis Burt paints the baseball cubbies. In the background, left is Michael Feagin, right is Alex Duncan.