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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Contact: Marla Christie, Public Information Officer Hudson, NC 828.726.2202 Date: September 15, 2009 CCC&TI GED Graduate Discovers Hidden Talent. Michael Arnold came to CCC&TI to work on his GED and take a welding class that would hopefully land him a job. But, what the Granite Falls native discovered, was a hidden talent for metal sculpture. Arnold found himself without a job when the demolition company he worked for went out of business. He decided it was the perfect time to get his GED and enrolled in classes through CCC&TI’s Basic Skill Department. In just 9 months, Arnold completed his GED while also taking a welding class through CCC&TI’s Continuing Education Department. “We spent several weeks welding straight lines and I wanted to try something different,” he said. “So I started welding scrap pieces together just to see what I could make out of them.” Turns out he had a knack for creating metal sculpture. In just a few short months, Arnold has created a horse, a praying mantis, a stork, a reading man, a mask, a tree, and a 90 pound dragon fly just to name a few. “I really enjoy sculpting, It’s a great outlet for me,” he says. “I can make the metal do whatever I want.” Arnold says he is thankful for his instructors in the basic skills department for their encouragement. “They really helped motivate me and stressed to me that getting my GED was something I needed to get done,” he says. “I especially want to thank Gary Hudson, my welding instructor, Shirley Connor for pushing me to complete my GED, and all the teachers in Basic Skills. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.” To show his appreciation, Arnold has given several instructors pieces of his artwork. He has also sold several pieces to people in the community. In addition, Arnold won CCC&TI’s Spring Fling Recycled Art Contest with a mask he created out of scrap metal. Arnold hopes to one day display his pieces in some of the parks around the area for the public to enjoy, as well. Arnold is continuing his education with another welding course this fall and hopes to one day pursue an Associates Degree in Visual Arts. He has even considered an art internship in China. “I hope my artwork can open doors for me, “ he says. In the meantime, he says his next project is an ambitious one. “I want to make a 5 foot stainless steel cobra to give to the college,” he says, referencing the CCC&TI Cobra mascot. “I can see it in my head and I just have to make it happen.” For more information on CCC&TI’s Basic Skills Department, GED or Welding Courses, call 726‐2200. ### GED graduate and artist Michael Arnold with some of his welded art sculptures. Welded art by Michael Arnold, a graduate of CCC&TI’s GED Program.