Wadena RDO farm team offers welding tips to area youth

A scrap metal donation turned into a learning experience for Bertha-Hewitt students.

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Bertha-Hewitt junior Koal Plautz inspects a weld after learning new techniques from RDO team member Kyle Robinson.
Contributed by Brittani Oyster

BERTHA — When R.D. Offutt Wadena Farm team member Jonathan Robbins heard the Bertha-Hewitt high school welding class needed scrap metal, he invited teacher Brittani Oyster to visit the farm to pick up materials.

What he didn’t know was that visit would lead him and fellow team members Charlie, Kyle and Diane into Oyster’s class on April 7 to teach students welding techniques, or how much they would enjoy it.

Oyster, a part-time teacher, invited the RDO farm team because her welding experience is somewhat limited.

“I have a background in animal science and I weld on our farm when necessary, but I’m not an expert.” Oyster said. “I’m grateful for the support from the RDO farm team – they interacted well with the students and taught new techniques.”

Eleven junior and senior high school students are enrolled in the elective shop class, many of whom live on farms and have welded in the past but are still learning. Oyster said the class is very important because of the potential career opportunities that are available in the field.


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RDO Wadena Farm Team member Kyle Robinson demonstrates proper welding safety at Bertha-Hewitt high school tech class.
Contributed by Brittani Oyster

“The kids were hesitant at first, but the RDO team was very encouraging,” Oyster said. “One student had a specific question and the RDO team helped him arrive at a solution.”

Junior Koal Plautz said he was glad the volunteers from RDO came to help the class.

“They answered a lot of questions we had and cleared the air on things we were confused about,” Plautz said. “It meant a lot to us that they would take time out of their days to come help us for a few hours.”

Robbins said he and the team were happy to get involved and really enjoyed working with the students, who were excited to learn and challenged the RDO team on welding skills.

“The kids were very interested,” Robbins said. “We were able to teach the importance of using clean metal and proper techniques for a strong weld.”

The RDO Wadena Farm team plans to remain involved at the Bertha-Hewitt school, potentially spending one day a week in the 7th hour class next winter and providing additional donations, like welding gloves and other safety materials.

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