BRIGHT FUTURES — Nederland senior breaking the mold in welding & auto tech education

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, November 2, 2021

NEDERLAND — Kyli Lovett used to visit her neighbor’s house in Nederland and watch as he was welding.

She was fascinated in how he could weld together and combine different items. She was also fascinated by her neighbor’s truck repair skill, which early on planted a seed of something worth pursuing.

Today, Lovett is a 12th grade student at Nederland High School excelling in welding and auto tech 1.

Kyli Lovett stands inside the Nederland High School advanced welding studio. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

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Teachers describe her as a conscientious student who takes classes very seriously. She often reminds classmates about their safety responsibilities.

Lovett, who recently turned 19, said the career and technical education instruction, which includes welding, has exceeded her expectations.

She said the people she learns with are great and communication between students and teachers is amazing.

“Overall, I never thought I would love it as much as I am,” she said. “I want to go to college, learn more and become a better version of what I am now. The cool part is it is not like in an everyday classroom. It’s hands-on, and the teacher doesn’t necessarily hover over you. He lets you figure it out by yourself. Whenever you need help, he is always there. Overall, the hands-on experience is something I did not think was going to happen because of COVID.”

Lovett is splitting her time between her campus’ welding and auto tech studios.

“I like devoting my time to welding because I see it as something I could do really great and pursue further,” she said.

“Welders are truly one in a million, sometimes. The better you get, the more knowledge you have. In welding you can get a certification for so many welds and you will have that certification for a while.”

Kyli Lovett is a 19-year-old senior at Nederland High School. (Stephen Hemelt/The News)

As a female student, Lovett is breaking the mold of what some consider welding and auto repair as male-dominated professions.

She prides herself on pursuing things that are different and unique, adding welding is definitely one of them.

Nederland High welding instructor Charles “Eddy” King has been teaching welding for many years and said it has been his observation that female students are better at the craft than their male counterparts.

There are several reasons for this, he said, but the most prevalent one is his female students tend to be more detail-oriented and precise with their approach to this skill.

“Once they realize they can not only compete but excel over their male counterparts, they tend to gain more confidence and acceptance,” King said. “Kyli (Lovett) falls into this group. She was very hesitant when she first started in my class but that is not the case any longer.”

The hands-on portion of welding is Lovett’s favorite part and is the basis of what King teaches.

There are three female students in Nederland’s advanced welding (second year class) and three in automotive tech 1 (second year class).

Lovett is in both. The turnout marks the highest female student representation the classes have had at Nederland High.

“It was not something I realized was a thing until my sophomore year,” Lovett said. “When I found out about it, I thought, ‘I have to do this.’ When I got into class and started learning all these things, it was mind-blowing. This knowledge is going to help me pursue my goals in life even more.”