EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Junior Dante Sartorelli talks about the welding project that he designed for the U.S. Air Force competition with Master Sgt. Mike Sangster and welding instructor Dale McCulley during a small ceremony Tuesday at Menominee High School.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Junior Dante Sartorelli talks about the welding project that he designed for the U.S. Air Force competition with Master Sgt. Mike Sangster and welding instructor Dale McCulley during a small ceremony Tuesday at Menominee High School.

MENOMINEE — U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Mike Sangster visited Menominee High School Tuesday to award the CTE Welding class with a new industrial tool cabinet after one student won the Air Force’s recent welding competition.

Dante Sartorelli, a junior at MHS, spent roughly three weeks putting together a massive 32-inch tall, 30-pound Air Force logo.

“It started off just as a logo printed off on paper,” he said. “Then we did the math to enlarge it and transferred it from paper to sheet metal.”

Sangster said that the guidelines for the competition simply had to include an Air Force logo.

“We gave each shop class minimal instruction hoping to spark innovation and teamwork in the students across northeast Wisconsin (and the Upper Peninsula),” he said. 

Sangster said the Air Force doesn’t currently have a large presence in Wisconsin, and the toolbox giveaway is a method of promoting their branch.

“We’re looking for the trades — specifically welders, woodworkers, mechanics — and we figured, ‘What better way than to get into the shop classes?’” he said. 

He added that recruiting is often difficult in this area of the Midwest, with weather being one of the main issues that make it hard for recruiters to hold much of a presence here.

“We want to make sure these students know we are a viable option, and so this is our way of creating awareness and giving back to the community,” Sangster said.

Sangster said there was no specific criteria to win the competition. He said the Air Force took in all of the projects from around northeast Wisconsin and judged each one based on creativity and innovation. The sheer size of Sartorelli’s logo, which includes a removable 3D star at the center, caught the judges’ attention and became one of two winners.

Dale McCulley, MHS’s welding instructor, said he gave Sartorelli free rein on the design of the project.

“He took it right from the ground up, and to start a project that way and carry it through to the end is fantastic for the students,” he said. “It wasn’t about the prize, it was about the accomplishment.”