Holmes tech students find niche with ornaments

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COVINGTON — Timothy Estes plugged in a few of the lawn ornaments he and his classmates built, then explained how each one was made.

“They’re not easy to do,” said Estes, a senior. “But it feels good when we’re done. We take a lot of pride in what we make.”

The ornaments are more than just a class project for the students here at Holmes High School’s Chapman Career Technical Education Center. They are sold to the public for $20 to $30 each, and orders are stacking up.

“We have five orders on the board now that we want to finish this week,” Terry Buckler said Thursday. “Then we will work on new orders we have to fill next week.”

Buckler, who teaches the welding class, is in his first year here at Chapman. He brought the ornament idea with him from other technical schools at which he has taught in central and northwest Ohio.

Using solid round stock steel, the students do everything from beginning to end – measure, cut, form, weld, grind and paint. They make angels, stars, Christmas trees and snowmen, each one anywhere from 4-6 feet tall and wrapped with Christmas lights. They even form pieces of steel into circles to create halos for the angels.

“It’s better than being in a welding booth all the time, and time goes by much faster for them when they are doing something like this,” Buckler said.

Junior Briana Phillips, who wants to be an iron worker and will represent Chapman in the SkillsUSA competition in February, was doing some tack welding on an angel Thursday.

“It gives me good hands-on experience, and gives me an idea of what it will be like when I get into a manufacturing job,” she said.

She has been impressed at how the ornaments have been turning out.

“I’ve been surprised at how good they look,” she said, “and they’re really pretty when the lights are on.”

The money raised from the sale will go toward purchasing welding shirts for the 22 students. Each shirt will feature the student’s name and school logo. Any money beyond that will be used to purchase supplies for the class.

To inquire about ordering an ornament, call 859-655-9545 ext. 16509.

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