Class of 2023: Annah Reese - Welding
During her time at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Annah Reese has fought hard to keep her mind on her school work. For much of the time, she was worried about her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Annah’s mother, Susan Reese, was diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer in 2021 when Annah was a senior in high school. Then later, her mother was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer.
“It was hard watching her go through cancer while I was going to college because I couldn’t be there for her at the drop of a hat,” Annah said.
But Annah did finish college, with a GPA of 3.43, all while holding down a part-time job. That makes her mom especially proud since neither she, nor Annah’s father, Craig Patterson, who died when Annah was 15 years old, graduated from high school. (Her mother later earned her GED.)
Annah first got the idea to become a welder after watching someone she knew welding in his shop at home. “His son made me put on a helmet and watch,” Annah said. “I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.”
She took two years of welding at trade school while in high school. While still in high school, she applied for several welding jobs, but was told she didn’t meet the qualifications. She got a welding job the day she graduated from high school, but realized she still had plenty to learn.
“I came here (to Wallace State) and realized I knew nothing,” she said with a laugh. “I thought my welding in high school was beautiful, perfect, thirty-dollar-an-hour work.”
When Annah got to Wallace, she learned not only welding, but the academic foundation of welding. “I actually learned how to diagnose what’s wrong with your beads and how to fix them,” she said.
Welding Department Chair Randy Hammond said Annah has been an outstanding student. He first met Annah at her high-school graduation, where he presented her with a technical
scholarship to Wallace State. “Annah has come a long way from that shy girl in high school,” he said. “She’s an excellent welder and a very good student. I’m proud of how far she’s come.”
Annah is such an excellent student and employee that her employer is paying for her to come back to Wallace State after graduation to get her Associate Degree in Robotic Welding, a new program at Wallace State.
Annah has also learned more than welding at Wallace State. “I know more than some people and some people know more than me,” she said. “You never want to be the smartest person in the room, because then you’ll never learn anything.”
- Kristen Holmes
- Vice President for Students and Chief Marketing Officer
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