Winning Welder: Happy Valley senior to compete in SkillsUSA national competition
Published 8:48 am Thursday, April 30, 2015
Zackery Hyder has skills, and this summer he will be headed to the SkillsUSA national championships to show them off.
Earlier this month Hyder, a senior at Happy Valley High School, won first place in welding at the SkillsUSA state competition in Chattanooga. That win secured him a spot at the national contest in Louisville, Ky., in June.
At the state event, Hyder had to not only demonstrate his skills as a welder, he had to demonstrate his knowledge as well by passing a 50-question online test.
“It’s probably the most difficult test I’ve ever taken besides the ACT,” he said. “That is what I was most nervous about. I wasn’t nervous about the actual welding, I was nervous about the test.”
The exam forced contestants to demonstrate their knowledge of welding practices and equipment, as well as asking the students to read a description of a welding job and explain what the welder was doing incorrectly, Hyder said.
Once the test was done, Hyder went to work on his welding job.
“I had to do a plate test and a drawing,” he said. For the plate test, he was given a diagram of the welding job to be completed and he had to draw it out on the plate and complete the job correctly.
At the state competition, Hyder had no idea what the welding challenge would be when he arrived at the contest. The national event will be conducted the same way.
“I have no idea what I’ll be doing,” he said. “I’m going in blind.”
Despite not knowing what the contest will entail at the national event, Hyder has confidence in his skills.
Hyder first enrolled in the welding class at Happy Valley High School his freshman year and has been in the program ever since. The welding class is part of the school system’s Career and Technical Education program that helps teach students trades and skills they can use in the workforce after they graduate.
During his first year in the program, Hyder said he studied welding safety and principals. He was not allowed to actually weld until his sophomore year. “My junior and senior year I’ve taken advanced welding twice,” Hyder said.
The program has given Hyder the opportunity to work alongside some great mentors, he said.
“I was with Bill Davis my sophomore year and Mr. (Tim) Carr would get off work from Eastman on Fridays and he would come in and weld with me too,” Hyder said, adding Carr is now the program teacher. “Both of them have taught me a lot. I have been blessed to work with them, I know that.”