Welding a win

Students win top awards at local fair competition


Photo by Maddie Anderson

Sophomores Blake Bergagnini and Abraham Vasquez and teacher Robert Pessle stand by their project which won an award at the Four States Fair recently. Metal Design and Wood Shop projects placed third and first in competition.

Story by Joseph Rodgers and Addison Cross

The Metal Design and Fabrication and Wood Shop classes led by Robert Pessel and Matthew Turner respectively won third place trailer class and first place outdoor recreational class at the Agriculture and Mechanics Show at the Four States Fair. The metal design and fabrication students built a 13-foot flatbed hauler trailer, and the wood shop students built a teardrop camper. Both projects started in the previous school year and finished at the start of the current school year.

“It was a group effort and each class had a couple of kids that worked [on the trailer],” metal design and fabrication teacher Robert Pessel said. “The project turned out great, and the school is going to keep the trailer to haul various things such as metal and wood. The competition was fierce and there were several nice projects from other schools, but we do what we can do.”

According to Pessel, sophomores Abraham Vasquez and Blake Bergagnini spearheaded the trailer project, devoting extra hours to it outside of the classroom.

“I enjoyed doing the hands-on project,” Vasquez said. “We started making the measurements, and we built it from the base up, finishing it out with the primer and painting it black.”

Many challenges arose during the construction of the project, including a change of axles and obtaining more metal to weld onto the project.

“We really invested a lot of time into this and that is how we remained so dedicated,” Bergagnini said. “It was a lot of hard work and there was a lot of other good competition, so we did what we could and we wanted to see the results.”

It was a lot of hard work and there was a lot of other good competition, so we did what we could and we wanted to see the results.”

The wood shop class built an outdoor camper to compete in the outdoor recreational division.

“The actual project was not difficult, but it was extremely time consuming,” Turner said. “Getting the curvature of [the teardrop camper] was very painstaking from the standpoint of me trying to teach my students on how to get it just right. However, we got first place in our division because of the fact that having a small camper in our division was a very unique project considering the only things [at the show] on wheels are flatbed trailers.”

The project was nearly derailed due to the back hatch cracking over the summer and breaking. Luckily, Turner and his students fixed the hatch in the nick of time before the contest began.

“Mr. Turner and I did the original hatch but after time it just cracked,” senior Marcos Revilla said. “We came up with a better design for a two-part hatch and built it in two weeks.”

After the contest, the program will continue to work on future projects.

“Our program being able to do this and get an award really helps us out and encourages us to keep doing our best,” Pessel said. “We have been on TigerVision and now in publications, so we have been doing well, and we will keep improving for the future.”