Kaskaskia College Welding Students Receive Scholarships

Four Kaskaskia College welding program students each received a $500 scholarship from Mr.Tulley Parker, Past President of the American Welding Society, at the AWS St. Louis Section Student Scholarship Program Banquet on April 18 at the Granite City Elks Lodge.  The scholarship winners were:  Matthew Lockhart of Oakdale, Brandon Shelton of Centralia, Chris Crain of Centralia, and David Gill of Nashville.

“The scholarship awards are highly sought after,” said KC Welding Program Coordinator, Associate Professor Kevin Ray.  “We are competing with Vatterott College, Ranken Tech, Southwestern Illinois College, Rend Lake, and various vocational high schools in the St. Louis and central Missouri area.  To have won four was quite the coup, as no other institution won more than two!”

But the real measure of success for Professor Ray is not in winning scholarships.  “Although winning scholarships is grand, and I love it for the students, my biggest enjoyment in my students’ success is seeing them graduate and don cap and gown,” he said.

Rigor and hard work are what makes KC welding students successful.  “I give good grades grudgingly,” Ray said.  “If you want that ‘A,’ then as a student in my program you must find it within you to do the work necessary to earn it.  I like my students to earn a good grade the way they will earn a good paycheck.  No curve, no special favors, just pure unadulterated grind, just like it can be in the real world.”

Professor Ray sees his job as more than simply teaching welding skills.  “Whether it is for a certificate or degree, the amount of effort, dedication, maturity growth, study time and life management skills it takes for the students to complete all of the courses and lab assignments needed to graduate gives me the absolute best feeling I can have as a professor,” Ray said.  “The AWS scholarships are nice, but they are just the icing on the cake.”

For more information on the Kaskaskia College Welding Program, please contact Professor Kevin Ray at 618-545-3406 or at


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