JERSEYVILLE - Students of Jersey Community High School’s Advanced Welding class were given a challenging task by Ben Poletti, division manager of the Sydenstricker Nobbe John Deere tractor dealership in Jerseyville. He needed an adjustable ramp for loading/unloading lawn and garden equipment from trucks and trailers and tasked the JCHS students with getting the job done - which they did.

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Poletti said he got the idea to ask the JCHS Advanced Welding class from his daughter, who also attends the school.

“I was talking to my daughter, who’s a sophomore now at the high school here in Jerseyville, and she suggested I get in touch with Allen Snyder who leads the Advanced Welding course and that they’re always looking for those sorts of projects,” he said. “I got on a call and that same day, he came out and looked at an example of one of the ramps that we have at the Jerseyville store and he said, ‘Absolutely. This is the sort of project this team can take on and it’ll be a good challenge for them, and something that can go into real-world use.’”

JCHS Advanced Welding Teacher Allen Snyder said the project was a great way to give the students some hands-on welding experience.

“We appreciate any work like that where the kids can get real-life experience, that’s what I want for them, and it just makes my job easier,” Snyder said.

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Snyder said his students also helped Poletti with a shortage of available manufacturers, and once the two met, the project began right away.

“[Poletti] approached me about how they needed some more of these built, and they were having trouble getting them done because all the manufacturers were tied up and busy,” Snyder said. “He approached me about possibly doing it, so I went out, met with him and we pretty much took a sketch and made a blueprint of what they want.”

The most challenging part of the project was the mechanical engineering behind getting the jacks to work correctly, Snyder said. They had to do some gear-swapping in order to get it to crank the same direction from opposite sides, but they eventually got it figured out.

The students started on the project in September and just completed it a few weeks ago - Snyder said it took slightly longer since both welding classes could only work on it for one hour-long class period each day. However, he said the finished product was well worth the wait.

“I thought it turned out awesome,” Snyder said. “The kids did a great job. There were a lot of kids that were all-in on it, they came in every day excited and they’re really proud of it.”

Poletti said the day after he got the ramp from the high school, they put it to use at one of their store locations in Missouri. He commended the students’ craftsmanship and much like Snyder, noticed their excitement around the project.

“The workmanship was awesome - no concerns with that whatsoever. The quality of the welds, the quality of the paint they did, was top-notch,” Poletti said. “When I went to go pick up the ramp, you could tell the students were engaged in the project - they were excited about it, they wanted to talk about it, and that just kind of put the bow on it for me that it was a good, mutual win-win for both of us.”

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