Menominee high school student wins US Air Force welding competition

Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 5:08 PM EDT
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A Menominee high school student won a United States Air Force welding competition. The competition asked Wisconsin area high school welders to make a U.S. Air Force insignia.

Dante Sartorelli spent three weeks creating the award winning plaque. The junior started with enlarging the U.S. Air Force logo and placing the design onto sheet metal.

"Then we cut it out with a plasma cutter and then we grabbed a piece of sheet metal and then we cut out the backing piece from it. We tacked it on with screws and then I welded the star,” explained Sartorelli.

Part of what makes Sartorelli's design so special is it has a 3D, removable star.

"The reason we chose this one was you could tell there was a lot of hard work that went into it. We judged multiple across north east Wisconsin and when you stacked them up, this was the clear winner,” said United States Air Force Master Sergeant, Mike Sangster. "You can tell with the painting, the welding, the size, the mire size of the symbol, that he actually put in a lot of hard work to make it happen.”

The logo weighs around 30 pounds and is 32 inches tall and 32 inches wide.

Sartorelli’s hard work won a toolbox for his class.

"We were all pretty pumped about the new tool box, but I think we were more excited that he won the competition,” said Menominee High School Welding Instructor, Dale Mcculley. "We kind of just took the initiative that as a class we were just going to build one, and Dante jumped in and he was the one who decided to take it and go with it."

Master Sergeant Sangster says the competition was used as a recruiting tactic, targeting high school students thinking about going into the trades.

"Here in the state of Wisconsin we have very, very little presence to represent our Air Force. And so, we figured what better way than to get into the shop classes across the state of Wisconsin, specifically in the north east, and spread the word.”

Sartorelli will graduate next year and is undecided if he will continue in a trades program.