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Bright Futures: PNG’s welding students bringing joy to season

PORT NECHES — Welding II students in Clint Oliver’s class are spreading cheer this holiday season.

Oliver, welding instructor at Port Neches-Groves High School, was first approached by the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce with an idea to create 4-sided, rebar Christmas tree forms.

“We made a mock-up of one and they (chamber officials) loved it,” Oliver said. “Then the teachers started seeing them and asking if we could build them some too.”

PNG seniors Landon Duhon, Tyler Moffitt, Michael Ramirez, Chris Douglas, Garrett LeBlanc, Bryson Brandin and Cace Dale got to work creating the trees, which can be wrapped with Christmas lights for a festive yard decoration.

Some of the trees are now on display at Port Neches Riverfront Park for the Christmas Cards in the Park. Visitors can drive through the park and see lighted Christmas “cards” and the trees beginning at dusk every night until Jan. 1.

Due to the popularity of the trees Oliver got the idea for the PN-G Welding Department Christmas Tree Fundraiser. The trees for sale come in three sizes; 4-foot for $15, 6-foot for $20 and 8-foot for $25. The buyer gets the tree and adds their own lights.

Welding may be a career path for some of the students; Ramirez and Douglas both said they’d like to go into the field, while other students are happy learning a new skill.

Jon Deckert, high school curriculum coordinator, said he appreciates the chance to work with the city for the community project.

Oliver is doubly pleased. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to buy supplies and tools not included in their budget and will also be used at the end of the school year so Oliver can “do something nice for the seniors.”

So far more than 100 trees have been ordered, Oliver said.

The work to create the trees as well as other projects is a way to teach the students not just about welding but about work ethics.

To take pride in your work,” Oliver said. “Your work represents who you are.”

The deadline for ordering the trees is Dec. 9.

Contact Clint Oliver at COliver@pngisd.org or call 729-7644, extension 182.