Kagan Migl rushes over to the ag shop at Victoria East High School after cheer practice and within minutes she has safety glasses on and a MIG welder in her hands.
Sparks fly as the 17-year-old Victoria senior works on her team’s Ag Mechanics project. They have only a few weeks left to finish the specialized flatbed trailer in time to be judged at the Victoria Livestock Show.
Agricultural science teacher Charles Holloway said they partnered with VISD’s maintenance department to fund the project.
After being used by students for livestock shows, the 16-foot utility trailer will be added to the VISD fleet. “It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”
Students in the program learn hands-on skills and how to put those skills into practice. Their various projects are judged for its workmanship by industry professionals at the competitions, he said.
Ag Mechanic students have also worked on restoring tractors, but he doesn’t have any teams working on one this year.
“They’re learning work ethic. They’re learning hands-on skills and learning how to communicate as a team to get a project done,” he said.
Angela VanGundy, who also teaches agriculture science, said the school has a diverse group of students involved in Ag Mechanics.
Four projects will be exhibited at the Victoria Livestock Show, but the district will also travel to compete against other Ag Mechanics projects at shows in San Antonio and Houston.
“Some of our kids haven’t been outside of Victoria, so this is a cool opportunity for them,” she said.
Before starting the trailer project, Migl had to learn how to weld.
She’s FFA president and ranked sixth in her class but said she is still learning new skills in the program.
Under Holloway’s guidance, she learned how to safely and confidently use tools in the shop. This project also gave her the chance to use her math skills when measuring materials.
“We learned how to measure twice and cut once, because you can’t add metal,” she said.