CUT BANK — Creativity has sparked in Cut Bank, especially in the high school’s welding program under the tutelage of Brian Hayes.
”I use welding more as a way to build the kids’ confidence and self-esteem,” said Hayes. “Then it’s just something they fall in love with and they can go further with it.”
After more than 30 years, including the last eight in Cut Bank, Hayes is calling it a career. Hayes also taught for 23 years in Shelby and two years in Two Eagle. He’s helped countless kids discover their potential.
“He helps us with pretty much anything we need or any questions we have,” said Cut Bank Senior Wyatt Michaels. “If there’s a college we’re thinking about going to he’ll take us there for a tour.”
Some of his students have gone to college, many have entered the welding field.
According to Superintendent Wade Johnson, the school’s welding program has the highest placement rate among its career technical education programs.
Senior Wyatt Berkram plans to stay close to home, working on the family ranch, and putting the skills learned in Mr. Hayes’ class to good use.
“My favorite thing about this program is I’ve built a feeder, I’ve built stuff for bucket tractors, parts, everything,” said Berkram. “I’ve learned a lot. I can take that back to the ranch and fix equipment. It’s just super handy to have this class to learn and Mr. Hayes to teach it in the right way and some of the handy ways to get around things.”
Michaels will continue his college education in Great Falls, but he won’t forget the work ethic instilled by Hayes.
“You got your people that sit at desks and push papers all day,” said Michaels. “Those people are the people that will pay you. You’ve got to have the people that will do the work.”
“I really believe kids are kids no matter where you are,” said Hayes. “You’ve got a lot of good kids. My job is to create an environment where the kids can prosper, where the kids will develop.”
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