Sunday, February 19, 2012

FFA Week - A welding blessing

I love a good challenge and what is better is when God puts people in your life to handle those challenges.  When I took the job in Lexington, Nebraska as an Agriculture Teacher I also would be teaching welding as a year long course.  That just isn't done in Ohio.  I knew that I could do this, but I also knew it would be a challenge and I would need to do my homework.  When I started my position the first thing I did was set up an advisory council.  Rod Reynolds a man on my advisory council and a father of a boy in my class said if you need some extra help getting the kids ready for the welding contest you should call Dietrich Meyer. He began to tell me about Dietrich a 74 year old welding legend as I would soon find out. 

 I immediately called Dietrich to see if he would come in to weld with a few of my students to help prepare them for the FFA welding contest.  He held nothing back on the phone, he told me although he was retired  he was very busy and just didn't know if he had the time.  I insisted any time he could give would be beneficial.  He said I'll be in first thing in the morning.  That was in January and he was there every morning after until school was out.  He helped coach the boys to a state contest.  Rod's son Ryan ended up placing in the top 10 in MIG at the state contest. 

He helped us learn and build things most high school welding programs aren't learning or building. It is hard to thank someone who had done so much.  It is hard to look back and see how this story unfolded to benefit so many people. 

I am convinced there is nothing Dietrich hasn't welded on in the state of Nebraska.  He has several patents on many things including a famous wood stove.  He was the designer of the first self catching head shoot.  Clearly a man of talent that would far exceed my welding ability. When he came on board we became a great team.  I entered grades and designed and managed the time table of projects and lessons.  Dietrich and I worked together to order material and he taught me something new everyday.  I handled discipline and he worked with the kids who wanted to be better welders.  I shared with him some educational tools, like not giving kids a 10 on a weld on Monday when the student should perfect it until Friday.  I told him if you give a student a 10 he won't work the rest of the week.  He smiled and said, oh yeah.  He shared with me that what  I was giving an 8 on a weld was really a 6 and why.  I smiled and said, oh yeah.  I truly enjoyed every morning in that welding lab with Dietrich and considered it an honor for him to be my teaching partner. 

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