May 24, 2024
The Western News

Libby educator’s welding students a memorable group

By Scott Shindledecker

Libby High School’s most recent class of welders shone brightly after their recent performances in their qualification tests.

“We had eight of 11 welders pass their 3-G 3/8 Qualification, along with three students, Joel Goodman, Conner Benson and Garrett Place, who also passed the 3-G unlimited thickness weld qualification,” said retiring Libby High School teacher John Love.

Love shared photos and his thoughts with The Western News.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Love said. “They love welding, they’re high achievers, smart kids and it’s good to see that intelligence going into the work place.”

Love said the returning welding students have set their sights high for next year.

“There’s a handful of them that want to pursue the 6G test next year and we’ve never had that before,” Love said. “I am so fortunate to have the support and help of so many to make this work.

“I don’t know where we’d be without the help of Mort Curtiss. He begins the learning process and by the time the students get to me, they’re a well-seasoned bunch.”

Working with the welding professionals at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell for the last decade has been a major boon.

“It really elevated it to the point where we could offer their qualifications and dual enrollment opportunities,” Love said.

Love has teamed up with certified welding inspectors at Flathead Valley Community College to help dozens of students learn the art of welding in preparation for a career that, depending on one's expertise, can be very lucrative.

The primary goal is to qualify students for American Welding Society certification.

Love, who came to Libby in 2012, was named the Libby Public Schools Employee of the Year in March. Love has taught a few social studies classes, but his primary focus was in auto repair, small engines, forestry and welding courses.

Love and his students have been involved in many community projects. They built a bike rack and installed it at the Libby Chamber and Visitor Information Center five years ago.

They also made the steel sign and chain saw cut outs for Logger Stadium.

Love, in his retirement letter to the district, shared his feelings.

"While I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I want to offer my sincere gratitude for all of the opportunities you created for me at LHS. I have many great memories of my time here as a teacher and will miss working with you and the rest of my wonderful colleagues," Love said.