Warren County Career Center welding program focus on community projects

Times Observer photo by Stacey Gross Lengths of pipe transformed into log decorations will be auctioned off at this weekend’s Pennsylvania State Police Camp Cadet fundraiser.

Welding teacher Nate McNett has found another way for students to impact the community.

Students in the Warren County Career Center (WCCC) welding program have been working this past week on a set of log decorations, pencil holders, Chevy symbols, and Christmas tree decor that will be auctioned off at this weekend’s Pennsylvania State Police fundraiser for its Camp Cadet program.

McNett saw a call for donations on social media earlier this month and knew it would make another opportunity for his students to put the skills they’re learning to good use for the community. It’s not the first time career center students have had an impact on the community.

Building technology students work on Habitat for Humanity houses and auto body students provide mechanical assistance to those willing to donate their vehicle to the hands-on learning environments at the WCCC.

Last May, welding students completed a set of targets that police officers around the county would use for firearms training.

Times Observer photo by Stacey Gross Back row, left to right: Nate McNett; Ashley Lindell; Austin Hawk; Justin Eck; Ethan Chambers; Trooper Cindy Shick; Nick Sliter; Ryan Morgan; Caleb Ace; Jake Taylor; Jake Davidson; Zack Hadley; Joe Knisley. Front row, left to right: Caleb Burch; Zack Rockwell; Callie Watkins; Patrick Gantz; Jacob Colander. Missing from photo: Zach Ciprich; Ethan Kellogg; Mitchell McNeal; Joey Arnold; Hayden Morse; Nate Davies; Hunter Seelinger; Kyle Swick; Winston Pillsbury.

McNett said this project was easy. With the help of Erie-based Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Trooper Cindy Shick, McNett and the students came up with a handful of projects they could craft that could be donated to the fundraiser and auctioned off.

All money raised during the fundraiser goes to support students entering the PSP Camp Cadet program — a one-week summer camp held on the Allegheny College campus each summer. It is a character-building program that introduces cadets to military courtesy, law enforcement, and how to handle common issues youth face in their lives appropriately.

“It’s not an easy camp, but everyone who starts, finishes,” Shick said.

Also, thanks to fundraisers like the one this weekend, Shick said no student who wants to attend Camp Cadet will find cost to be prohibitive. While each cadet has to do a mini-fundraiser of their own, all of the money they’re required to put up front goes back to them, according to Shick, who added that Camp Cadet is proud to “take good kids and make them better.”

“We love to do community projects,” said WCCC Principal Jim Evers. “We’re always excited to do as many of those as we can.”