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Vought takes the gold in welding, heading for nationals

OHS senior Michelle Vought’s talent with a welding torch earned her a gold medal at the SkillsUSA state competition. (click for larger version)
May 01, 2013 - Being a welder, Michelle Vought is used to dealing with all sorts of metals.

Now, the Oxford High School senior has added a precious metal to that list – gold.

Vought was part of a three-member team that recently won a gold medal in welding fabrication at the SkillsUSA state competition held in Grand Rapids.

"I was surprised," she said. "We all felt that we did a really, really good job when we finished, but it was just a shock to hear that we actually got first place and we're moving on to nationals."

She and her teammates, all of whom attend Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast in Pontiac, are heading to the SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City, Missouri June 24-28.

In order to win gold at the state level, Vought's team had to build a bin by welding various pieces of metal together.

"We had four hours to complete the project," she said.

Three different types of welding – arc, MIG and TIG – were employed in the bin's construction.

"I did the arc welding," Vought said.

The finished product was judged based on the quality of the welds, how well the metal pieces fit together and its overall appearance.

"We ground it down with a flap disc to make it look all shiny and nice," Vought said.

For the national competition, Vought and her teammates will be required to design and build a workbench with a table that detaches.

"We have to create a blueprint for it," she said. "We have a list of the metals that we can use and we have to build it out of that."

In addition to receiving a gold medal for her efforts in the state finals, Vought also earned a $10,000 scholarship to Ohio Technical College in Cleveland.

She will begin studying welding technology there in August.

"That's about half my tuition for a year," Vought noted.

After college, Vought plans to start out as an industrial welder, then someday open her own automotive welding and fabrication shop.

Vought is very grateful to her welding teacher Steve Langdon.

"I want to thank Mr. Langdon for all that he's done to help us," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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