Taylor tries his hand at welding

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Taylor tries his hand at welding

Senior Dawson Taylor heads to welding school

Senior Dawson Taylor heads to welding school

Senior Dawson Taylor heads to welding school

Senior Dawson Taylor heads to welding school

Brinson Mullis, Managing Editor

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For all high schoolers, senior year is a year meant for looking ahead into their future. It is a year to make plans and decisions about where life will take them. And for Dawson Taylor, it is the year that he began his professional training.
Taylor, a member of the RCHS class of 2019, spent several months in the first semester of the 2018-19 school year attending Byers Technical Institute, in Buena Vista, Va. Four days per week, Taylor checked out of school early to train in BTI’s welding program.
“I go for three hours a day, four days a week,” said Taylor. “The number of weeks may vary because the class is based on a certain number of hours, not days.”
Taylor learned about the program from the former CTE director of RCHS, Steven Wilder. Wilder mentioned the program to Taylor and several of his classmates, and helped them enroll in the course.
“I was first offered an opportunity to enter the class when Mr. Wilder told me about the program,” said Taylor. “I am not the only RCHS student currently enrolled in this course. The others include Anthony Showalter, Shawn Minter and Chris Woody.”
The welding program never got boring for Taylor because it always presented him with new projects and challenges.
“No two days at BTI are ever the same. Once we have learned the basics of each new welding technique and feel confident in our ability to perform in that area, we generally move on to a project that challenges our skills,” said Taylor.
Some of these projects involved the whole class, while others are more personal to each student.
“This week we are working on building a trailer,” said Taylor. “Also, I am working on a personal project of creating a charcoal grill and smoker for a Christmas gift.”
Completing this program helped Taylor realize that welding is the career he wants to focus on after high school.
“I personally love the field of welding and how there is always something new to work on,” said Taylor. “The career is certain to never be boring.”
Despite the love he found for welding, the program did not come without challenges. Taylor was forced to make a few personal sacrifices to complete this course. After playing on the RCHS football and baseball teams since his freshman year, Taylor had to make a tough decision about managing his time outside of class.
“There have been a few challenges and hard decisions I have had to make in order to go to BTI,” said Taylor. “First I had to sacrifice one of the things I have loved my entire life, sports. While going to BTI I was forced to quit football, and potentially even baseball this coming spring.”
In addition to giving up these activities, Taylor struggled with a heavy workload from the multiple schools he is currently enrolled in.
“Another challenge has been going to three schools. On top of welding school I also go to high school, and to HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) school at Dabney S. Lancaster,” said Taylor
Despite these challenges, Taylor is grateful for the opportunity he was given to take the class. He believes the best part of the welding program was learning a trade that he can use to start his life after high school.
“My favorite part of the class so far is just being able to learn a skill that will benefit me for years to come, and help me set up a future for myself and a family while still having fun and enjoying what I’m doing,” said Taylor.
Taylor hopes that the future he is looking forward to will be a lucrative one. He believes that field of welding will make him a lot of money once he leaves RCHS.
“After completing this course we are guaranteed a job in the welding field. Salaries in this field begin at $80,000 per year and go up from there,” said Taylor. “This is all depending on where you work and what type of welding you do. For example, welding such as nuclear welding or underwater welding tend to make substantially more money.”
Getting to train for his future career while still only a senior in high school was a very positive experience for Taylor. He considers himself lucky for getting this opportunity and completing the course at BTI.
“Overall welding school has been a true blessing and I am very honored to be in it,” said Taylor.