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‘Welcome to Somerton’ sign unveiled by welding students

KHS students and Somerton officials pose near Welcome signThe Kofa High School welding program was honored by the City of Somerton on Wednesday, May 19 at Centennial Park for the completion of a student-created “Welcome to Somerton” sign.

The project involved more than 30 students and took nearly two full school years to finish due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They really put their heart and effort into this,” Kofa welding teacher Chris Smart said. “It’s really amazing to see, especially when it comes to fruition like this.”

Kofa senior Athen Cruz added: “It brings joy that it’s finally done after all of the hours that we spent on it. Just to show it off today is amazing.”

The sign is approximately 5 feet high and includes a 7-foot replica of the Somerton water tower. It’s also part of what’s become an annual tradition for welding programs across Yuma Union High School District.

“The collaboration between Yuma Union High School District down through Kofa down through the CTE program, specifically welding, is second-to-none,” said former Kofa Principal Mike Sharp, who is now the YUHSD Director of Strategic Projects. “This work will be on display for generations to come and should fill the community with a source of pride.”

Over the past several years, through YUHSD Career & Technical Education, high school students have partnered with local municipalities to create signage at key entry points and streets, including a sign at the entrance to Yuma International Airport, various “Welcome to Yuma” signs, and a “Welcome to San Luis” sign.

Somerton Mayor Gerardo Anaya spoke glowingly of the Kofa program and its students, including five welding students in attendance. He also provided certificates of recognition and a Somerton pennant at the outdoor ceremony.

“When we were looking at projects last year, our budget wasn’t that great and we were looking at projects that would be cost-effective and have a big impact,” Anaya said. “We felt that this project would bring great pride to our community.”

Eric Patten