Couple tackles welding studies

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sandra Scott of Donalsonville discovered that her fascination with welding overcame her initial fear as she watched welders at the paper mill where she worked.

She turned her fascination into a career goal and started studying welding at Bainbridge College Technical Studies Division. Then she convinced her husband, Brian, a skilled craftsman, to pursue welding studies too.

The couple work at their own pace and each has one more semester of courses to complete the 50-credit hour certificate program. They maintain a friendly rivalry, competing with each other for the higher grade on tests, yet supporting each other in their studies and with their family responsibilities.

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He acknowledges and compliments her as the one who “gets bragged on” in class.

“What makes it fun is the competitiveness, especially in our class work,” Scott said.

“He’s been outshining me,” Mrs. Scott said of what they have produced in class this semester. She said that when they graduate, they plan to practice their welding skills until they are comfortable enough to open their own business to handle small welding jobs and to create and sell items such as barbecue grills.

Mrs. Scott had been interested in a different career path, one that was non-traditional for women, and started her technical studies with the advantage of her keen powers of observation. She came to BC armed with knowledge of welding safety precautions she had observed as a fire watcher in the mill. She knew about the kind of clothing to wear, safety equipment for the eyes and ears, and steel-toed boots. And she had observed other safety measures she saw practiced by welders.

Working full time and with family responsibilities that include three teenagers, a 21-year-old, a grandchild, and a grandparent, the Scotts have taken classes part time. There have been times when those responsibilities felt overwhelming, Mrs. Scott said.

She and her husband acknowledged the importance and difficulty of balancing school, work and family, but they made their decisions to complete school. As a team, they help each other.

“In marriage you’ve got to work together,” he said.

They also take time to play. He enjoys fishing, and she enjoys flowers. Each participates in the other’s interests, even if it is only to sit and watch as the other fishes or enjoy the beauty of the garden.