4 | May 9, 2019 | the mokena messenger news

Lincoln-Way welding teacher wins equipment for school

Sean Hastings

Contributing Editor

Lincoln-Way welding

teacher Daymon Gast won

$38,000 worth of welding

equipment after being

the leading vote getter in a

competition held by Miller

Welding, but to Gast, the

recognition that the program

got from it, is worth

more than the prize package.

Miller Welding held a

competition called “Who’s

Building You,” where

teachers were nominated

by peers for their work as a

teacher as to why they were

deserving of the prize.


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Former East and Central

student Codey Underwood

nominated Gast. Gast was

one of 459 teachers nominated.

The final voting was

narrowed down to a top

three, where Gast won by

50 percent of the votes.

“I was honored and excited

that a student would

remember me for this opportunity

being a year out

of school,” Gast said.

Underwood is now a

first year apprentice in the

597 Pipefitters program.

“He really had done

things right,” Gast said

about Underwood taking

advantage of what the

Lincoln-Way programs offered.

“He was a shining

example of how Lincoln-

Way and this program can

help students.”

Gast’s welding classes

have become so popular

that he now teaches them

all day to accommodate

for the amount of students

wanting to be in it.

“The prizes are nice and

we’ll utilize those quite

well,” Gast said. “But the

recognition that it gives

the program is important

and when a student goes

out and interviews and

they see on an interview

application that they went

through our program,

that’s going to help a student

and ought to give

them a leg up”

He also noted the importance

of having skilled

workers in the workforce

and how the numbers have

declined slightly lately.

In class April 24 students

were working toward

finishing up a number of

different projects and Gast

took the time to check on

each student, assessing

their work and helping

them if they needed it.

And for senior students

Vaughn Clymer and Wyatt

Daymon Gast assess sophomore Tommy Schaaf’s work

in class April 24 at Lincoln-Way Central. Gast said it

is tough to get the students out of the shop when the

period is up. Sean Hastings/22nd Century Media

Grady, to see their teacher

be properly recognized for

the work he puts in, was

nice to see.

It was clear that Gast’s

class is something the two

graduating seniors will

never forget.

“[I’ll remember] his

whole class; there’s no

dull moment in his class,”

Grady said.

“He’s a great teacher,

from working on the

smoker to learning pipe

and he wants to get us certified

by the end of the year

on certain parts,” Clymer

said. “The three years that

I’ve been in this class, it’s

hard to say anything bad

about it.”

Students, community

members, other teachers

and fellow welders all rallied

behind Gast with voting

on Facebook after Gast

posted a video of himself

detailing what the competition

was. He received

over 80 Facebook requests

during the week of the


“I was pretty proud of

him,” Grady said. “It’s

a pretty big accomplishment,

I’d say, for New

Lenox and the welding


Clymer built off what

Grady said saying that it

benefits everyone because

it gives them recognition

as well as equipment they


The “coolest” piece of

equipment in the prize

package is the augmented

virtual welding system,

Gast said.

The system allows the

students to weld without

striking an arc and it

gives feedback through its

technology sensors. It can

generate a report and tell

the student how they performed

with the weld using

the machine.

“In the big scope of

things, you can save money

without using electricity

and consumables, but if

the student is struggling on

learning a particular process

in the shop and can’t

get over that hump with an

actual arc weld, they can

come into the classroom,

weld on the machine and it

will give an assessment,”

Gast said.

Gast said it’s like having

another teacher in the

classroom that can provide

input. It is valued at

$22,000, Gast said.

“We would never be

able to afford that without

the award,” Gast said.

“It wouldn’t even be a


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