DNHS student Henry Palmon works on a boat at Navarro’s T-Tops and Towers in Donna.

Donna North High School incoming senior Henry Palmon was introduced to the world of welding at the age of 13 by his father. As time went by, it became clear to Palmon that he wanted to become a professional welder in life.

“I really have a passion for it,” Palmon said. “I’ve been doing it for so long that I’ve gotten really good at it. It’s what I’d like to pursue as a career.”

Palmon appears to be well on his way to accomplishing his goal. Just recently, he was hired to work a full-shift over the summer at Navarro’s T-Tops & Towers, an aluminum fabrication business in Donna. So far, he helped make a t-top and tower for fishing boats. “I like being able to make something with my hands. It’s something that I’ve always liked to. To be able to make something like this, is really cool. They look great and are functional.”

Students listen to DHS Career and Technical Welding teacher Ediberto Garza in their Structural Welding class.

While Palmon’s talent is evident, he enrolled in a Structural Welding class to sharpen his skills. The dual enrollment course is offered by South Texas College and taught by Donna High School’s Career and Technical Welding teacher Ediberto Garza at the DHS campus. Palmon proudly boasted about a Thor hammer he made as part of a school project that earned him second place in the SkillsUSA state competition last year. “I’m learning a lot in my class. The instructor is very good. He’s always helping us out especially the less experienced students. He focuses more on them and tries to help them improve their skills.”

The dual enrollment class was extended over the summer at DISD with 21 incoming seniors enrolled. Career and Technical Director David Moreno said this group is expected to make history at DISD next year.

“We are extremely proud of these students, as they will be the first cohort from Donna ISD to graduate with their high school diploma and Structural Welding certificate from STC in the spring of 2019,” Moreno said. “Our goal is to ensure that every one of our students graduates with the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to pursue their dreams and goals in life.”

Students work on projects in their Structural Welding class.

Moreno said student interest in career and technical programs is at an all-time high at Donna ISD. This past school year, 488 certificates and licenses were awarded to students, a record number for the district.

“DISD will continue to expand opportunities for students to explore their interests and develop their skills while they are still in high school,” Moreno said. “These opportunities will allow students to acquire job skills that will lead them to a career or encourage them to pursue post-secondary education in their field of interest. We would like to thank our partnering institutions STC, TSTC and RGV College for another successful year.”

As for Palmon, he is serious about pursuing a profession in welding. He is interested in aerospace welding, specifically welding fuselage.

“I like it because it’s difficult and it gives me a challenge,” Palmon said.