ThunderRidge High School’s Welding Shop is School’s Newest Career Technical Education Program

ThunderRidge High School’s Welding Shop is School’s Newest Career Technical Education Program
Posted on 04/28/2023

At the welding shop at ThunderRidge High School (TRHS), students measure, cut, and of course, weld. This is where the sparks fly! 

Currently, five offerings of Welding I and Welding 2 classes are available. Next school year, a Welding 3 class will be offered, and the following year, Welding 4. The goal is that students who complete Welding 4 will earn their certification, giving them immediate access to the workforce following graduation. 
Thanks to the DCSD voter-approved 2018 bond, the welding shop became a reality and is attracting students who want to explore a skilled trade. In addition to TRHS students, seven students from other DCSD high schools are enrolled in the welding program. Although the majority of students are male, females are also eager to learn. 
“There’s a real need for welders,” said TRHS welding instructor Oscar Chaparro. 

Industries including construction, infrastructure, aerospace and agriculture, as well as municipalities, employ welders or require many of the skills that welders possess.

Students in the ThunderRidge welding labSome of the skills students are learning through the welding program are SMAW (stick we
lding), GMAW (mig welding), and Plasma Arc Cutting, along with tool maintenance and safety. And many of those skills carry over into other disciplines. 

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the class, welding students are helping their school by making trash receptacles for the school’s parking lot. The students ordered the materials, fabricated the receptacles and will have them powder coated before they’re installed in the parking lot in May. The students also manufactured a coat rack and equipment stand which are useful additions to the shop.

The TRHS welding program applied for and received a $5,000 grant from The Foundation for Douglas County Schools for a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, which is similar to a 3D printer. CNC machining is a manufacturing process in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. Students enrolled in the Welding 3 class will be able to use the CNC machine. Chaparro hopes his students will be able to participate in the SkillsUSA Welding Championships in the future and compete with others outside TRHS. 

Chaparro was a professional welder for 17 years before stepping into his new role as a
Oscar Chaparro in the ThunderRidge welding labwelding instructor in May 2022.

“Before joining DCSD, I worked for a welding company and ran my own welding business for several years,” he said. “One of my clients, a retired teacher, told me about the job and the new welding program. It’s been a great fit!”

Through DCSD’s Career Technical Education program, Oscar earned his CTE credential, which caters to those who have industry knowledge and experience to transition into the classroom. As a professional welder, Chaparro understands what students need to learn and how to grow their knowledge and skill set. He’s excited to be able to build the program at ThunderRidge. 

DCSD welding classes are also offered at Ponderosa High School, where the program is in its fourth year. Welding classes are electives and are one semester in length.

ThunderRidge welding lab

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.

In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District's Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Aaron Henderson, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, [email protected], 303-387-0127.

Outside Agencies

Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.


Special Education records which have been collected by Douglas County School District related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or the provision of special education in the district, must be maintained under state and federal laws for the period of five (5) years after special education services have ended for the student. Special education services end when the student is no longer eligible for services, graduates, or completes his/her educational program at age 21, or moves from the district. This notification is to inform parents/guardians and former students of Douglas County School District's intent to destroy the special education records of students who exited special education services as of June 30, 2016. These records will be destroyed in accordance with state law unless the parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student notifies the school district otherwise. After five years, the records are no longer useful to the district, but may be useful to the parent/guardian or former student in applying for social security benefits, rehabilitation services, college entrance, etc. The parent/guardian or eligible (adult) student may request a copy of the records by requesting the records at this link ( Douglas County School District Transcripts and Records Requests ).