Welding students raise money for Clemson student with Down syndrome

UA students help classmate

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Kids taking a welding course at the Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy used a class project to help someone most of them had never met. And on a day where Alabama plays Clemson for the National Championship, they learned some things are more important than football.

“Alabama and Clemson will be playing for the National Championship, yet money and efforts will go straight from Tuscaloosa, the home of the Crimson Tide to Clemson," said Matt Freeman.

Freeman is the welding instructor at TCTA and Shelton State Community College. He beamed with pride about what his students accomplished by building a championship quality grill and smoker.

“This right here, it was fun making it cause we all came together,” Patrick Clemon, a welding student explained.

They helped Dalton Cron, a Tuscaloosa native with Down syndrome who is attending Clemson. Students spent eight months welding donated parts together into a half ton, 11-foot long grill so it could be raffled off.

"A win-win situation, doing good for people and learning something,” Clemon added.

The money will help Cron pay towards a program called ClemsonLIFE that helps students with intellectual disabilities who want to go to college. Money from raffling off the grill will help Dalton pay for college tuition.

“It shows the community kind of coming together, more so than competing,” Freeman said.

Students raised $5,000 for Dalton. They’ll donate the grill to the raffle winner a month or so from now.

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