CRESTVIEW — Corey Hollett says that welding can benefit do-it-yourselfers as much as it does for professional welders.
For instance, adding welding to their skill sets could help people save money on repairs, he said.
"If anything, they can get a little MIG welder ... when something breaks on their car, they can fix it," he said.
Passion for fusing metal pieces through heat has driven the 2013 Crestview High School alumnus, who graduated at the top of his class from Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, and now heads to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to work in shipbuilding at Huntington Ingalls Industries.
And he's in it for the long haul.
"I wouldn't mind doing this for the rest of my life," he said. "I have always enjoyed working with metal."
After finishing at the top of 60 Tulsa students, Hollett received an $800 welding machine and found the shipbuilding job.
But his career's foundation was in Mike Eglin's welding curriculum in CHS's CHOICE — or Community High Okaloosa Institutes Career Education — program.
Among Hollett's memorable projects was a modified welding mask, complete with battery-powered interior fans.
And Eglin said he recalls Hollett's good work ethic.
"He was always been the first to be on time in class and he is the last one to hang up his broom (afterwards)," Eglin said.
Recently, the student became the teacher for a day.
Hollett stopped by Eglin's classroom to give welding students more insight into the profession; namely, that their high school classes count in the real world. Hollett said companies consider welding in high school as experience.
Eglin said Hollett is just one example of how students can find success in welding.
"I got three other students who are making $1,000 plus a week through their welding," he said.