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Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center students compete in welding competition

While most students were enjoying a mild Spring weekend, Andreanna ‘Andy’ Kniffin and Olivia Gibbs were busy at the American Welding Society (AWS) competition hosted by AWS Rochester and Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES.

Andy, from Penn Yan Central School District, and Olivia, from Canandaigua City School District, are both seniors in the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) program and have been practicing for two years to compete in the Senior Division. The competitors and their AME Instructor, Dan Bradley, arrived at the event in Spencerport bright and early, as the competition ran from 8:00am until 2:00pm on Saturday, April 2.

The weld-off consisted of written, hands-on welding, code interpretation and other tests of welding skills that are applied every day in the workplace. Andy and Olivia competed in the D1.1 structural steel unlimited 1″ plate test, which is a difficult test even for most professional welders.

Competitors stood on concrete and welded non-stop for five hours. There were no breaks, not even for breakfast, lunch or coffee. The pressure was on, and the results were in Andy and Olivia’s favor.

Andy was the ‘Grand Winner’ of the overall welding competition, taking first place in the Senior Division. Olivia took first place in the Senior Division for highest score on the written exam, as well as third place for welding.

Christopher Preston, a Junior from Penn Yan Central School District, also attended and took first place in the Junior Division for highest score on the written exam.

“I am so very proud of the students. They worked and practiced for two years preparing for this competition,” commented Dan Bradley.

Andy and Olivia’s performances will also land them a publication in the nationally recognized American Welding Society magazine.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Program at Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center exposes students to precision machining, computer aided design and welding technologies. To learn more, visit the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES website at