PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Peel back the plastic curtain, and the sparks fly. The welding lab is quite the impression on the campus of TCC Portsmouth; it's the largest one in Hampton Roads.
"It is a fun atmosphere, not a tough atmosphere," said instructor Marcus Moody.
The students behind the goggles and the torches are all high schoolers enrolled in this unique and electrifying dual enrollment course.
"They get to be creative and make things, and once they leave the skill will stick with them," said Moody.
Tuesday's class was made up of four teen boys and 18-year-old Aurora Finchum.
"Even Mr. Moody says his females are the best welders," said Finchum, a Churchland High School student.
She is the lone girl in a male-dominated industry.
"It is a release to be here instead of being in class or in front of a computer," said Aurora.
The four-semester course teaches about brazing, voltage, melting points and tempering, to name a few.
Once the kids finish the course, they are job-ready - whether it be at the shipyards, power plants or private companies. The median salary is around $42,000 to start.
"It is endless possibilities. Anything you build comes in contact with a welder," said Moody.