Playing With Fire; Denfeld HIgh School Girls Learn To Weld

By KBJR News 1

March 15, 2013 Updated Mar 15, 2013 at 8:22 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - Cutting steel and playing with fire is on the minds of six young women from Denfled High School...They're participating in a women's welding course at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.

The teens are part of the high school's Girl's Restorative Program, which is set up to help youth that are at–risk for a variety of reasons.

Justin Reis reports about the teens that may have a troubled past, but after the course, their futures are much more "fused together."

The smell of burning metal and playing with fire isn't what many of us think of when imagining a group of high school girls.

A half–dozen teens from the Girls Restorative Program at Denfeld High School are working with gas and electric welding machines to learn what it takes to work as a group and to generate ideas about what to do post–graduation.

"We are all doing individual projects. And we are combining them together. It's about women coming together as our main theme," Donesha, a Denfeld High School Student, said.

Though she admits she was a bit intimidated at first, Donesha says she was able to get comfortable with welding the first day of the course.

"It's like dangerous but it's fun. I like it. It's hands on," Donesha said,

"Taking a risk and learning something new is always fun," Cynthia, a Denfeld High School Student, said.

The course takes place at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.

The program runs four days in all, totaling 12 hours of group–oriented training.

A leader with the Girls Restorative Program says the welding opportunity gives these girls a chance at a time when many others will not.

"They came here for a number of reasons. It could be truancy, it could be poor behavior, it could be something happening at home," Elena Bantle, a Girls Restorative Program Coordinator, said.

School conflict and poor social interaction are other reasons the teens may be referred to the program.

Bantle says group oriented interaction helps build aspirations and to complete high school.

"It's also a really good opportunity for girls if there were to choose to go into welding. It can be a really lucrative career," Bantle said.

"We are going to do a little graduation for them. We've invited their parents and we'll present their sculpture," Aleasha Hladilek, a WITC Welding Instructor, said.

Despite the less–than feminine welding wardrobe...

"They look kind boyish and dirty but for this you gotta get down and dirty," Cynthia said.

....they had no problem taking charge with the tools and using their imaginations.

Each of the participants receives one college credit at WITC.

After the group of inspiring teens finish their steel sculpture, it will be displayed at Denfeld High School.

Justin Reis, NNC.