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Silo Keith is Wiregrass Tech's first female welder to compete at the state SkillsUSA competition and earn a medal. She was one of the 47 Wiregrass students who competed in the state-wide competition in Atlanta where she earned a bronze medal in Welding.
Silo refers to this accomplishment as a "happy accident.” "My welding instructor Wally Rewis recognized my talent and explained to me what the SkillsUSA competition was, and then told me, 'You are going,’” says Silo, laughing. Her talent is by no means an accident. Rewis comments, "Silo is a very talented and smart welder. She pays close attention to what she's doing, and if she gets something wrong, she keeps working until she masters that skill. She's very determined."
At the state SkillsUSA competition, Silo was among 26 students from the college who earned a medal. Overall the college competitors earned 15 gold, 5 silver, and 6 bronze medals. For the welding competition, Silo had to read blueprints and weld according to those plans. This included adjusting her machines to get the correct specifications to produce the desired results in the blueprints, all within an hour and 45 minutes. She went on the share that even though she was nervous, the comaraderie among the competitors encouraged her and helped her stay focused.
Silo feels her instructors Wally Rewis’s and Roy Bramley's teaching and instruction are what helped her do so well. "They are excellent welders and their attentiveness to us as students help us perfect our skills. They stand by us and show us what we are doing incorrectly so we will know how to correct things and produce a strong product," she shared.
When Silo graduates this semester she will have her associate’s degree in Technical Studies, diploma in Welding and Joining Technology, and six certificates in Basic Shield Metal Arc Weld 1 and 2, Gas Metal Arc Welder, Gas Tungsten Arc, and Welding and Joining. She credits her instructors for encouraging her to complete and earn her degree. She feels they have helped her understand the strength of having a strong work ethic by staying with a job no matter how difficult and learning through mistakes.
Silo has had her mind on a welding career for several years now. During her high school years, she moved from Texas to Florida and then to Valdosta when her military family was stationed at Moody AFB. During that time she took woodworking classes and then welding when she started attending Valdosta High School. "My career goals are to work as a traveling welder for several years and then open my own welding shop and create home décor, ornamental metals projects like gates, staircases, etc.,” shares Silo. As she was sharing about her passion for home décor she proudly shared an outdoor project she is making for her mom, a water hose wall mount.
When asked how she felt about being Wiregrass’s first female to compete in welding and win a medal at SkillsUSA competition she humbly responded, "It excited me, it's nice to knock down something that has not been done before. All I can say is I did my best."
She also appreciated the help she received from the college's SkillsUSA Advisor and Director of Campus Life, Kelley Wetherington. "She was amazing and writes us a note for each competitor encouraging us,” says Wetherington.
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