Welding warrior: Ag sparks interest, direction for senior’s career

Lucy Raleigh

Sparks fly as two burning, red hot pieces of metal are welded together at the hands of dedicated students in the agriculture department. This subject area helps students tap into different career paths and experiences before they go into the workforce. Although some students might not know that they want to work in ag, others have known for years that this is the path they want to take. Senior Austin Birdwell has been taking steps towards a career in agriculture and is doing whatever it takes to reach his dreams.

“Ag is a program where kids can come in, learn how to weld, learn about planting flowers, how to grow them, how to raise animals, and demonstrates how anybody can do it,” Austin said.

Austin is currently enrolled in four Ag classes, and doing all that is possible to receive the full agricultural experience,by participating in ag related extracurricular activities as well.

“I try to be as involved as I can,” Austin said. “I’m also on the livestock judging team for FFA which I’ve been involved with for the past three years.”

For Austin, ag is more than just classes to fill up a schedule. It offers a support system where he can confide in his teachers and receive any other help he may need.

“There are so many people here who are helpful to me in school and in my personal life,” Austin said. “If I ever need advice, I can always come to my ag teachers.”

Thanks to ag Austin has paved the road to his future and knows exactly what he’s doing after high school.

“After graduation, I’m actually planning on going into welding,” Austin said. “I’ve been thinking about that for the past five years. Ag has helped me a lot with my plans because my teachers have taught me what to do whenever I’m welding.”

Austin’s teachers can see his love for the subject, his hard work, and his dedication.

“Austin performs well in welding class,” ag teacher Will Doss said. “He works hard on his  assignments and, sometimes, even comes in after school to improve his skills.”

Austin’s hard work doesn’t just help him in the class setting, but also improves his character and helps him be a better person.

“His perseverance shows through his work, because he has to continually redo things and make them better,” Doss said. “It makes him mad sometimes, but he has grown as a person because of [his hard work].”

Ag has taught Austin that you don’t have to raise animals or live on a farm to be in Ag, you can be whoever you are and those in ag will welcome you.

“Ag is just a place where everybody can come in, help out, meet new people,”Austin said. “You learn what life is really about.”