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of Clare County

CTE Student Creates Welded Sculpture for ‘Meltdown’

See you Saturday on Budd Lake!


With the Frostbite Winter Festival on hold this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Harrison Chamber decided to do a fun day event for families and create a “meltdown” contest on Budd Lake.

The Chamber tapped its community resources and asked the CTE welding program at the Clare Gladwin RESD to create an item to fall into the lake when the ice melts. CTE and RESD instructors Phil Schafer and Nick Blackmer charged Harrison High School senior Tyler Lewandowski with the job. Lewandowski is in his second year in the CTE welding program and class of 2021 valedictorian.

With no blueprint or plans, they allowed Lewandowski to build whatever he wanted.

“I made it up in my head and I built it, he said.”

Lewandowski used scrap metal to create a several hundred-pound ice fisherman complete with a fish on the hook! When he and his CTE instructors were interviewed for this story, Lewandowski pointed out all the details of his creation. A loop on the top of the fisherman’s head will hold a buoy, allowing the piece to be pulled out of the lake after it sinks. The fish, attached with flexible metal, will blow in the wind. The entire piece will be painted this week and ready for Saturday’s events. It will be painted in Harrison’s blue and gold colors with an attached metal sign of the organizations that made it possible. The sign will be made in Mid’s CAD lab.

The piece was a welcome project from the normal practice welds and fixing chairs.

“It was a challenging experience, making all the angles and the different types of welding that had to go into it,” Lewandowski said. “It was cool to be a part of it.”

His plans after high school are going into welding or becoming an electric lineman.

The piece is truly a collaboration with several community organizations coming together to make it happen. Mid Michigan College donated the scrap metal, and the Harrison Rotary Club is donating to have it painted.

In the first Budd Lake Meltdown you will be able to enter the contest of when the statue will fall into the lake...guess the day, hour and minute that it will fall. Guess as many times as you want for $5 each. The guessing will start on Saturday, Feb. 20 until the statue falls. You can cast your guess during Saturday’s Fun Day or go to Lake Meltdown. The winner takes 50% of the proceeds!

There was one question I forgot to ask Lewandowski, just what kind of fish is that?


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