Welding teachers spark new life in student

Posted on: July 30, 2012

Archie Andrews, right, with instructor Victor Woods, left

From a troublemaker on a rough street in New Orleans to a successful welding student, Archie Andrews’ life has changed. “I came from the worst streets you can come from. Not having a father figure, I was your worst nightmare,” Andrews said.  
He became interested in welding while he was working in a chemical plant. He attended three welding schools, quitting each one. “None of them worked out for me. The teachers didn’t really care,” he said.
He relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina, and his brother-in-law introduced him to COM’s welding program.  For him, instructors Doc Miller and Victor Woods made all the difference between success and failure. “They teach you, get down on their knees with you. They care,” he said.
“When I met these guys, they saved me,” he said. Their encouragement to finish school made an impact. “Meeting Doc and Victor took all the negativity out of me. I’m about being positive now. My life has totally changed.” Miller has noticed the change in him as well. “He’s really turned his life around,” Miller said.
Andrews now travels all over the U.S. working in plant turnarounds, earning a good wage for each completed job. “He’s doing what we taught him to do,” said Woods. After Andrews travels, he comes back to class to make up his time in the program’s flexible day or night classes. He will graduate in December.
He is grateful for the difference the men he calls father figures made in his life. “I thank them every other day,” he said.

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