Delaware Area Career Center welding students recently got hands on to help a local business design a Christmas decoration.
DACC officials said Welding Instructor Brad DeMent was contacted by Dante Bando, the President of Butch Bando Concrete Inc., who asked if the DACC’s welding class could create a display for the upcoming Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights.
DeMent said the idea is that students would create a new display for the attraction every year. He said the project spanned two weeks and was a great experience for his welding students.
“Since we/the students really had no experience doing this type of work, the students had to do everything from brainstorming, blueprints, material lists, design, layout, fabricating, welding, and finishing,” DeMent said. “It was tough to start the project because there wasn’t really a set way to go about it. The process was new to all of us since we have no experience or background building a 10-foot by 16-foot Christmas display.”
The guidelines for the display called for the project to be Christmas and welding related and that it would include the DACC logo as well as the students’ graduation year. The students and Bando settled on having Frosty the Snowman welding a gift with animated lights as sparks. The display reportedly has more than 400 bulbs.
Bando said he chose the DACC for several reasons, including because his wife is a staff member and because he wanted to use his business to give back to the community but also because he wants to give students opportunities he didn’t have.
“I want to work with the DACC as much as I can…” Bando said “My goal is to work with the students on projects where they can see the actual real world application in person, while at the same time hopefully providing a little mentoring, helping them see first hand that you do not have to go to college to be successful, or most importantly, “normal.” I want them to understand that not everybody should be on the same career path, and that with hard work and a trade skill, you can do something you love and make a great living doing it.”
DeMent said the project was a unique opportunity for both his senior and junior students, since both classes worked on the project.
“This was somewhat of a large-scale project,” DeMent said. “It’s not every day a student fabricates a 9-foot snowman out of metal. The students had to form all the metal to create the display. Once all the metal was shaped, they welded it in place. We thankfully had help from Dante Bando who came in and helped the students with the light assembling and wiring. The [senior] welding students constructed it where the [junior] students had a hand in helping with the finishing touches.”
DeMent said he and the students enjoyed the project and said he was excited to have an annual project like that.
“It was a fun project and something that we can look forward to year after year,” DeMent said. “This experience really taught the students that sometimes you just have to take a leap and jump into a project headfirst! We had a person who wanted something created. Sometime, there isn’t a set way to do it, but guess what, you have to figure out a way to do it.
“Having a vision and matching it up with problem solving skills really keep this project moving forward,” he added. “The students turned nothing into something and by the end of it, they were all extremely excited to have the opportunity to be able to show off their work in the Christmas light display.”
The student’s display can be seen when Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights opens on Nov. 17.
DeMent said attendees won’t have any trouble spotting the students’ design.
“For being our first year and just going for it, the students have a very respectable display they can be proud of,” DeMent said. “They wanted to incorporate welding and DACC along with a Christmas theme, of course. I have a feeling that visitors to the Fantasy of Lights won’t have any trouble picking the display made by the students! They are very proud of their welding skillset and their welding program here at DACC.”
Bando said Wednesday he was very pleased with the students’ work and the DACC.
“The quality was great,” Bando said. “The school is filled with lab instructors whom want nothing but for their students to succeed, and Mr. DeMent is no exception. As a matter of fact, over the last few years, I have seen students of Mr. Dement turn out work that is comparable, and sometimes even superior to, work that you would see come out of local fabrication shops.”
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights opens Nov. 17 and runs through Jan. 1, 2018. More information can be found at http://butchbandosfantasyoflights.com/.