Thursday, December 13, 2012

Steps to Success ~ Ad Astra Per Aspera

Welded sculpture serves as teaching tool and inspirational decor.

Many people go their whole lives without thinking about welding. It might surprise them to know that welding affects an estimated 50 percent of the US gross national product. Without welding, skyscrapers, bridges, cars, rockets and ships would not exist. (Cary, 1998)
Ad Astra Per Aspera means 'a rough road to the stars'

Welding, at its core, is a way of bonding two pieces of metal together. But for Sam Devere, it's much more than that. Having earning an associate degree in welding, as well an associate in arts transfer degree in economics, he's focused on tutoring students in the welding lab, while nurturing his artistic streak.

As president of the Lower Columbia College Welding Club (which he started in January 2011), he was tasked with creating a sculpture for an evolving space in the Student Center. He and the other club members strategized how to visualize the college's brand by incorporating symbols of learning, higher education, and the 'higher and hire', slogan.

The theme of 'steps' emerged, together with 'books'. Sam felt that books as physical objects were dying, and he wanted to memorialize them.

"Ten years from now, kids will wonder what books looked like", he explained.

From left: Tim Rose, Sam Devere, Stephanie Bradford
and Marjorie Ganos in front of 'Ad Astra Per Aspera'. 
Sam and the welding students practiced essential welding skills while creating the sculpture in LCC's welding lab, then painted it with repurposed colored paints left over from previous projects. They named it 'Ad Astra Per Aspera', a Latin phrase meaning 'a rough road leads to the stars'.

"That phrase is engraved on the memorial plaque commemorating the Apollo 1 spacecraft, and has been associated with many historical characters and events," Sam explained.

"It seemed to fit this project because we are all striving towards something bigger."

Sam plans to pursue his bachelor's degree by transferring to a four-year university at some point in the future. The skills he's learned at LCC in the classroom, by working with people, and by pursuing creative endeavors, will serve him well.

"I'm having fun," he says,"and people are cool with it [the sculpture]."

The Steps to Success ~ Ad Astra Per Aspera sculpture is located on the first floor of the Student Center, just inside the West entrance (doors closest to the Quad).

Sam is passionate about what he's doing, while pursuing his dreams. For that, we salute him!

Cary, Howard B. (1998) Modern Welding Technology. 4th Edition. Ohio: Prentice-Hall.

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