How has LCCTC Impacted Me?

by Devin Dilling, Welding graduate Class of 2019

In the beginning of my sophomore year, I felt that Welding was the right choice for me. However, after the first week, I was very timid and felt skeptical of my choice — after all, I was a female in an all-male shop. But within the first few months, I learned to successfully establish an arc weld; this became a literal bridge to my future!

In my sophomore year, my instructor recognized an artistic talent in me and asked me to participate in the SkillsUSA Welding Sculpture Competition. I took that challenge and created a Fly-Fishing Lure (used to catch trout) for my sculpture entry. As a first-year student and competitor, I was inspired by the quality of the other sculptures from around the state and, scoring 5th place in state competition, I evaluated my score sheet, inspired to improve. In my second year, I created a Dragon sculpture, improved even more, and was honored to make that exciting walk to the stage to collect my bronze medal.

Analyzing the judges’ reflections over the last two years, I saw that my welds were quality, but I really needed to improve my communication skills; this made sense because I’d rather fight a dragon than speak in public, but while bronze is a nice medal, I knew that gold was so much better. With that in mind, in my senior year, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and worked on my communication — an additional skill that would take me far in life. In my final year of competition in Welding Sculpture, I created a Helmet (representing the safety I experienced through a career and technical education) surrounded by a Crown (representing the job-ready skills that will make me financially independent) with Wings (representing the personal-skills that make me confidently job-ready). In this final year at states, I could hardly believe it — I brought home the gold! This summer, I’m proud to represent my state, my school, my shop, and my family at the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky in June!

Over the last three years, I have leaned to conquer my fear of learning something new — that persistence and patience can take me farther than I ever imagined! I have learned so much about welding and about myself here at LCCTC!

This spring, I also passed my NOCTI Welding Certification with “Advanced”, outscoring the entire senior class! I have maintained great attendance — only missing a few days each year, and I’ve earned scholarships through SkillsUSA. I am an active member of the National Technical Honor Society and am a Peer Leader. I have also used my skills to benefit the community by working on roadway gates for the PA Game Commission and by helping to create “The Rack”, a climbing frame, for the New Castle Football Team.

I will take away from Lawrence County CTC a strong sense of work ethic because with it, I can prove my worth on a daily basis. I know that even outside of SkillsUSA competition, I will be judged by my work ethic in every aspect of life.

Having the opportunity to attend Lawrence County Career and Technical Center has been the best for me, and I will hold the memories of times I spent here near to my heart.

No matter what road I travel, LCCTC has become an important bridge to my future helping to make me ready for whatever my job title might be!

At graduation, Devin delivered the Salutatorian address to the Class of 2019. This June, Devin represented LCCTC at SkillsUSA National Championships as the PA Gold Medalist in Welding Sculpture placing 4th among 44 other competitors from across the nation. In the future, Devin plans to utilize her skills learned at LCCTC as a welder.