FFA donates computer-designed sign to the city
As a part of the high school FFA’s community partnership with the city of Socorro, FFA member and Socorro High School senior Greg Stover designed and fabricated a decorative sheet-metal sign for Sedillo City Park’s softball field. The sign was installed last week.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology at the high school’s agricultural metal fabrication shop, Stover never had to hold a cutting torch during the whole process.
Using the Plasma Cam cutting machine’s computer-aided design software, Stover uploaded the City’s logos onto the computer and created a design.
When it came time to make the sign, he only had to watch while the computer-directed plasma torch — attached to an arm suspended over the table — cut through a plate of heavy sheet metal. For safety’s sake, he wore a welding mask, since the machine uses electricity to create a plasma arc by superheating air to 25,000 degrees Celsius.
Stover said he enjoys working with the shop’s Plasma Cam machine, and has fabricated several items, including a set of decorative metal panels he sold to the cross-country team members.
Socorro High School agriculture teacher and FFA sponsor Mike Gaines said he welcomes any opportunity for his students to use the shop’s technology to make a real-world product, especially one that benefits the community.
“It’s an opportunity to do a real application, a product they would have had to pay for,” he said.
Gaines said the city would likely have to pay about $1,500 to buy a similar sign. The plasma cutting machine alone cost the school district between $1,300 and $1,400.
Even though he’s already been accepted into Tech’s mechanical engineering program, Stover joined FFA, mainly because he liked the idea of doing real-world projects.
“I got into FFA to learn more. I want to go into engineering and I wanted to have practical experience,” he said.
The FFA was founded in 1928 as a way to promote agriculture education. Today, there are more than 579,000 FFA members ranging in age from 12 to 21 years of age attending schools and colleges in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The organization’s motto reflects is focus on service: “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”
Gaines has about 75 students in his agriculture classes, 38 of whom are FFA members.