Masonic Lodges come together to help George Stevens welding program

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 5:13 PM EDT
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BLUE HILL, Maine (WABI) - The welding program at George Stevens Academy is new this year, born out of high interest from students.

But the program didn’t have enough welders for students, and the welders it did have weren’t as up-to-date as they could’ve been.

“In the past, they’ve had to travel to another school to do welding,” said GSA Welding Instructor Corey Espisito. “And now we’re able to do it right here on campus and it’s just one of the ways we’re trying to give our students as much as we can.”

That problem is is now solved, thanks to Rising Star Masonic Lodge out of Penobscot, and the Ira Berry Lodge in Blue Hill, who provided funding to GSA to purchase two brand new TIG welders, and ensuring every student can spend the entirety of class time practicing their craft, and ideally doing it right here in Maine, well into the future.

“I’m excited to use them,” GSA sophomore Caden Clark said. “Hopefully, eventually we can do liquid cooled, so we can just keep welding longer so we don’t take breaks, but I’m excited to really use them.”

“We all thought this was a good idea because these kids are our future,” said Rising Star Lodge Master Dave Drew. “Whether it’s welders, electricians, plumbers, you know, those are all needed crafts. And we would like to give these kids a basic so they can start here, stay here, and thrive.”

“This right here is kind of the final piece of the puzzle, and it completes our program,” added Esposito. “This would not have been possible if they hadn’t stepped up, I would have had to take a welder from my shop to bring in and I would have only had five welders for the TIG welding course next year. This is going to be a valuable skill for these kids to have and it’s going to help them get an entry level job at a high school.”