WHS welding students are working on current downtown project.

Kenya Menjivar
Waxahachie Daily Light

The Waxahachie High School Welding Shop is working on completing ‘HACHIE’ letters for the downtown area.

The project originally began when Amber Adams, member of the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA), noticed the letters in other cities and businesses. 

“So through our travels through Texas, there were several other times like Hico and then the Rangers BallPark in Arlington has the letters that are interactive. So I just thought that would be an amazing addition to our downtown for people to have a place to kind of make their mark and take their picture and check themselves in downtown Waxahachie," shared Adams.

Adams' son is a current sophomore at WHS and is in the welding program. As a member of the association, Adams reached out to the welding teacher, Jacob Mullican, to see if the project piqued his interest. 

The project took off from there after it was approved by the association.

The unfinished 'HACHIE' sign the welding students are working on.

“We went back and forth on the design, and once we figured out the specifics was about the time that COVID hit and shut us down for the remainder of the year. Once the 2020-2021 school year started up, I touched base with Mrs. Caverly again to make sure that they were still interested in the project, and they were,” shared Mullican, one of the WHS welding teachers. 

The project is currently being worked on by eight students within the class. According to Mullican, these students are five seniors, two juniors and one sophomore.

"They’ve really enjoyed it. They understand the impact that the project can have on the community. I always love these types of projects. Our community has a real investment in the public schools. And, we have an excellent Career and Technical Education department within the Waxahachie Independent School District," said Mullican. "Each one of our CTE programs are always looking for ways that we can use projects such as these to have the students use the knowledge and skills that they have attained through our programs, both in the classroom and hands-on learning applications, to interact with the community and fulfill a need."

On Jan. 14, the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association shared a sneak peek of the unfinished sign. 

"Our awesome Waxahachie High School Welding Shop is making this great addition for Downtown! It will be a stand-in photo opp for everyone to show their pride," stated WDMA through their Facebook page.

The construction portion of the project is set to be completed before students leave for Spring Break.

"Project is nearing completion on the fabrication side. All of the letters are in place, and we are currently cutting out and capping the letters, which will add strength to the structure as well as give it the 3-D look that we were going for on the original design. I believe that the Fine Arts Department is on board as well now and will be involved in the painting and overall finished look of the sign prior to installation," said Mullican.

Adams said the WMDA is always trying to improve downtown and make Waxahachie a destination on the map. This project has been more than a year in the making.

The placement of the letters will be decided later this week. 

“We’ve been kind of using it as a teaser because I have been posting it all over social media, and I didn’t tell anyone where it’s going to be. So it’s been kind of fun not saying where it's going to be, and I really don’t know yet," said Adams.

Adams hopes that this will be the start of many other collaborations with the Waxahachie school district.

“It’s probably the first of many collaborations with the school district and the downtown merchants. I really want to make that connection. I’ve already heard from a couple of the parents of the kids who are working on the project, and they think it's cool that they’re part of it, too," explained Caverly. "We’re also hoping to affiliate ourselves with the art department at the high school and get it painted or designed, in addition to being welded."

The welding students are also working on alternative projects as they go into their spring show season. 

"Our Waxahachie FFA program has several projects currently under construction in our shops with these types of projects that the students are building for community members and organizations that are taking that investment in our youth to a new level," said Mullican. "We have several projects that my students are preparing for the San Angelo, San Antonio, and Houston Ag Mechanics shows, as well as our Ellis County Youth Expo that will begin in the latter part of March."

To keep up with updates on the 'Hachie' project, follow the WDMA Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WDMAEvents .