Dover-Foxcroft and Fairfield – The start of a new school year brings new and exciting changes to the Foxcroft Academy Industrial Technology Department. Recently, Foxcroft Academy secured six lightly-used welding booths and added equipment to go along with them, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Brian Jonah ‘04, Chair of the Welding Department at Kennebec Valley Community College. This “new to us” equipment is already being used in Mr. John Sylverster’s first-semester welding classes.
“This generous gift from KVCC helps us replace some older equipment in the welding shop and makes it so we can jump in with more advanced welding techniques,” said Sylvester. “Students who have come out of these classes are already learning a lot about welding, but now, they can practice skill sets that many in the trades are just figuring out as well.”
The gifts from Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield include six stand-up welding booths, fume extractors, filters, hoods, and other parts that make these units state of the art for FA students.
“I’m glad Brian (Jonah) thinks so much of our program that he reached out to me when KVCC was updating their welding equipment,” said Sylvester. “He was a student of mine that took to the trade and has turned it into a great career. And this was a real alumni project as Rick (‘90) and Caleb (‘19) Ladd offered their services to deliver the equipment at no cost. I want to thank all of them for their contributions to our program.”
Foxcroft Academy boasts a robust Industrial Technology Department with hands-on classes and training in welding, auto maintenance, small-engines, woodworking, drafting, and more. The addition of this new equipment to the welding shop only adds to the quality program offerings.
“While schools around us are phasing out classes involving the trades, Foxcroft Academy has doubled down on our commitment to the programs and our students that want them,” said Foxcroft Academy Head of School, Mr. Arnold Shorey. “There are big career opportunities in the trades, all over the state and the country so if we can provide a viable avenue for our students to get hands-on training now, we are going to continue to make it happen. And Mr. Sylverster’s students come out of our technology programs ready and eager to work in the field.”
The process of getting the welding equipment from the school started with KVCC overhauling their welding shop, thanks to new funding from the state of Maine. According to Brian Jonah, deciding what to do with the outgoing welding booths was not a hard decision.
“John (Sylvester) is my former teacher and a member of our KVCC Welding Advisory Board,” said Jonah. “When this equipment became available, I knew exactly where I wanted it to go as my administration thought it would be a great idea to help the future generations of high school welders get a head start on their aspirations.”
The welding booths have been installed and are currently being used by Foxcroft Academy students to work on advanced welding techniques. Sylvester and his students are eager to get to have the chance to work with the new tools.
“We’ve worked hard to be a viable option for students over the years, because we have so many that love to work with their hands and learn a trade that can take them places in life,” said Sylvester. “Adding this new equipment is just as exciting for me as it is for them. I look forward to seeing what we can do this semester.”