Bladen Community College student wins national gold medal

DUBLIN — For all the success achievedin SkillsUSA competition, Bladen Community College had always been without a gold medal.

Savannah Schmidt will forever be known as the college’s first.

She said she felt confident it could happen and her instructor and mentor, Edward Dent, credited her with natural talent and an amazing drive, a news release from the college said.

The welding program at Bladen Community College has competed in SkillsUSA for more than 20 years, capturing many medals and places.

“Last year, Savannah won second place in the nation, and on that day she set a goal to bring home a gold medal this year,” Dent said in the release. “She accomplished her goal of achieving first place in the nation and bringing home the gold.”

“I was so glad I could give this win to Mr. Dent,” Schmidt said in the release. “He had the mindset even before we traveled to Kentucky. He told everyone we were ‘bringing home the gold’ this year!”

SkillsUSA is for high school, college and postsecondary students enrolled in career and technical education programs.

Schmidt competed in the Job Skills Demo “A” category. In her presentation, Schmidt described and demonstrated how a guided bend test device is used to test coupons cut from carbon steel pipe that Schmidt had welded.

During her presentation, Schmidt introduced a new device of her own creation that could revolutionize the industry. She has acquired a trademark on the invention and is applying for a patent.

“After the competition was over,” she said, “one of the judges congratulated me and gave me his business card. He said he wanted to know when my invention was available on the market.”

Now working as a welder in a local industry, Schmidt hopes to return to school to become a certified welding instructor. She accepts commissions for art sculptures and plans to serve SkillsUSA as a regional judge. She credits the BCC welding department for her success.

“When I started at BCC, I took two welding classes as fillers for my schedule. I loved the welding classes. The instructors are genuinely committed to your success. Mr. Dent was like a personal coach, always pushing me to strive higher,” she said.