Four students complete SOWELA pipefitter program

By Cyndi Sellers

Four Cameron Parish students overcame all obstacles to complete the SOWELA Pipefitting Course sponsored by Venture Global LNG and Kiewit.

At a School Board ceremony honoring thier achievement on Monday, SOWELA representative Jundy McCleary said Patrick Bertrand, Ethan Doxey, Kade Billiot, and Luis Castilo started their journey in September 2019. Almost immediately they lost their instructor. Later a second instructor left the program.

In July 2020, the first day of class their new instructor came down with COVID, but they were able to complete the Pipefitter I course in August.

Then Hurricane Laura hit, followed by Delta. Still determined, the four were finally able to complete the Pipefitter II certification in January of 2021. McCleary said this is a national credential, which will allow these young men to have well-paying careers. The graduates were presented with letters from Chancellor Aspenwall detailing their achievement along with SOWELA swag.

Venture Global representative Ryan Bourriaque also congratulated the men on thier perseverance and accomplishment. He noted that the program was conceived several years ago in conversation with School Board member Sheila Miller and others. He said it took longer than anticipated to see results, but he is proud to acknowledge the first four graduates.