Annual Lincoln-Way SkillsUSA Welding Competition Set for March 9

The Lincoln-Way welding program is once again partnering with SkillsUSA for its annual welding competition on Thursday, March 9th. Hosted in March each year, the contest includes the top 75 welding students competing in two categories for prizes.   There will also be industry guests present to serve as judges, and guest speakers.  The annual welding competition is the largest and most exciting event of all the Career and Technical Education events hosted by the District. 

Last year, SkillsUSA hosted a fundraiser, “BBQ for the Brave”, during the contest, which raised over $6400 for the PFC Aaron Toppen Memorial Foundation and the Illinois USO.  This year’s community service project attached to the contest is titled “Heroes for Hearts” and will raise heart health awareness in memory of former Lincoln-Way Central alumnus (2008) Andy Hegeduis.  Hegeduis passed away in 2016 of an undiagnosed heart condition. 

Andy, a former career and tech student at Lincoln-Way, was known and loved by many. He an energy that filled the room. He was healthy, fun, hardworking, and he was always willing to lend a hand. After graduation, Andrew went to work for the Will County Carpenters Local 174.  Sadly, his life was cut short on April 8, 2016 at the age of 26. Andy died of a condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that is most often inherited, in which the walls of the heart chamber become thicker than normal. The walls become stiff, and this can reduce the amount of blood taken in and pumped out to the body with each heartbeat. Andy’s symptoms were tiredness, for which he regularly compensated with energy drinks to help stay alert.  His heart condition was a slow progression which went undiagnosed until he tragically passed away. 

Andy loved dirt bike racing and other ATVs.  As a tribute to his passion, we are excited to raffle off a CFMoto ZForce 950 HO EX side by side UTV with an estimated value of $17,000 at this year’s welding competition.  Proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit the American Heart Association, as well as The J and J Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to provide parents with support and financial assistance for funeral expenses when they face the loss of their child. To purchase a raffle ticket for $10, visit the Lincoln-Way Central main office (1801 E. Lincoln Highway New Lenox, IL 60451) or call 815-462-2100. 

SkillsUSA is also coordinating efforts with the physical education departments at each Lincoln-Way school to educate students on heart health awareness as an extension of this community service project and fundraiser. 

Thank you to this year’s event sponsors: 

Platinum Sponsors:  Ozinga Concrete, Zark Heating and Cooling, and Pipefitters Local 597 

Gold Sponsors:  American Combustion Service Inc.,  Weldstar, Joliet Junior College and Mi-Jack Products 

Silver Sponsors:  Midwest Cage, Ironworkers #444, Gina’s Motorsports, Keen Enterprises Inc., Steele and Lober Builders, Phillips Chevrolet, Lockport Steel Fabricators, LLC., and Berkots Super Foods 

A note on SkillsUSA: 

SkillsUSA SkillsUSA is a dynamic and career-oriented leadership organization focused on individual success at home, the classroom, the community and in the workplace. Involvement in SkillsUSA changes students' lives. The experiences gained provide an excellent platform for career development and success. SkillsUSA’s programs help students develop personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics — the organization’s framework. These essential elements shape responsible, reliable employees who will one day become leaders in the economic marketplace.