East St. John senior excels in welding test

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2023

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East St. John High School senior Mitchell Walker, a student with a relentless drive to excel in the field of welding, recently achieved a significant milestone by successfully passing his structural bend test at ABC New Orleans Bayou Chapter.

Mitchell’s journey into the world of welding began when he started taking night classes last school year in January. Working alongside his welding instructor, Courtney Branch, Mitchell quickly realized that he had a knack for the craft. However, it wasn’t just the welding itself that drew him in—it was the potential he saw in the industry.

Mitchell’s inspiration came from multiple sources, including his older brother, Matt. But it was his instructor who truly ignited his passion for the trade. Branch shared stories of how individuals could transform their lives in a short span of time through welding. 

“I saw it happen with one of my friends,” Mitchell said. “He’s making really good money, and he graduated last year. Once I saw that, I just started to get more and more invested in it.”

According to Mitchell, he needs to keep moving. In addition to his school and welding classes, he juggles a job in the tool room at ABC and works as a cashier and stocker at Tractor Supply. 

“I like to work. I’m not the type of person to just sit at a desk,” Mitchell said. “I need to be moving a lot, so I think that’s another reason why I want to go into the plant. I’ll always be able to do something.”

Mitchell’s mother, Melanie, acknowledges his unwavering commitment, saying, “I’m super proud. I want him to be happy with what he’s doing. It’s a great field, and you’ve got to set yourself up for your future.” 

Looking ahead, Mitchell does not have a specific plant in mind to work at after graduating high school. However, he is keen on acquiring as many skills as possible and is already contemplating picking up another trade once he completes his welding certification.

“I want to learn as much as I can,” Mitchell said.

Branch expressed his pride in Mitchell’s achievements in a post on Facebook.

“This young man will be something serious in the plants once he graduates high school,” Branch said. “Keep up the great work Nephew.”

Branch also thanked Turner Industries for sponsoring Mitchell on his welding journey.

With a promising future ahead, Mitchell’s journey in welding has just begun, and he is already making waves in the industry with his accomplishments.