CHS Student at Missouri Welding Institute

Senior Year Steers Graduate in New Direction
Posted on 07/07/2022

One year ago, Kelsi Mickelson wasn’t sure where her future was heading. Last month, she graduated from Central High School (CHS). Today, she is deep into pipeline welding at the Missouri Welding Institute where she will graduate in December with 12 welding certifications.

“I started welding during my last year of high school and fell in love with it,” explained Kelsi. It all started when Kelsi joined FFA in her senior year. Savannah Wild, the FFA advisor, invited Kelsi to try the metals class that she teaches. It didn’t take much convincing. 

Wild describes Kelsi’s senior year as one in which Kelsi took every opportunity that came her way. “Kelsi never backed down from trying something new even if it was out of her comfort zone,” said Wild. Kelsi judged dairy cattle, was the only girl from CHS at a welding contest, served as an FFA officer, and more. 

“I always want to welcome upperclassmen and encourage them to try something different because they may just find a passion they never would have before,” said Wild. And her classes aren’t just for farmers and welders, either. “I’ve had many seniors go onto non agriculture related careers or futures that still were able to benefit from the experiences they had in our program.”

Kelsi had always wanted to try welding because her mom, Tammy Pickett, welds and now is a welding inspector at Great Plains. Pickett is honored that her daughter wants to follow in her footsteps. “It will be a hard road to go down, I know,” said Pickett. “But don't ever let anyone tell you that women can't weld!”

Central and South high schools have many pathways for students to explore that can lead them to careers or help them investigate related fields and opportunities.

The combination of opportunity and encouragement from teachers like Savannah Wild and Cole Dow helped Kelsi develop a plan from senior year to her best life after high school.

kelsi welding
kelsi with welding groupkelsi award