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SPHS tech ed teacher pens a book on welding

Michael Reeser’s new book provides “do-it-yourself” tips for becoming a better (and safer) welder

Saint Peter High School students taking technical education courses, and more specifically welding classes, can take comfort in knowing they are learning from a published expert on the subject.

Michael Reeser, who teaches CTE (Career Technical Education) at SPHS, recently had a book on welding published by Cool Spring Press that, according to him, is a “how-to” book on the subject. The title of the book is “Welding Complete (2nd Edition): Techniques, Project Plans & Instructions.”

The book, which is available through most online outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is geared towards anyone who has an interest in welding including high school students and  adult learners. It was made available to the public right before the 2017 Christmas season, according to Reeser.

According to the Cool Springs Press website’s description of Reeser’s book, “Welding is a fun and surprisingly affordable activity, with complete welding kits available at home-improvement stores for just a few hundred dollars. This book shows you everything you need to know to become a competent and safe welder of a wide variety of metal projects. Featured projects include a coffee table, magazine rack, wine rack, truck rack, firepit, and gate.”

“I was first approached by my publisher in the fall of 2016 about doing a book about welding, while I was teaching the subject at Dunwoody Institute,” Reeser said. “In all, the process from start to me approving the final copy took about eight months to complete.

“Since I already had a full-time job, it took up a lot of my free time. I had to work a lot of nights and weekends to make sure the book got done on time.”

In addition to all the text needed to complete the 200-plus page book, Reeser helped oversee the photography aspect of the book in which 80 photos were used throughout the pages.

“I’m in some of the photos and some of my students at Dunwoody were nice enough to help out as well,” he said. “The photography alone took the better part of 10 evenings and a couple weekends to complete.

“This was the first book I’ve written and, while the whole process was very time consuming, it was a lot of fun of which to be a part and also very challenging. It was well worth the time and it’s very cool to see the book once it came out in print.”

To check out Reeser’s book you can check out the Cool Springs Press’s link at

About the author

Michael Reeser, a native of Alabama, has had a long career teaching agriculture/FFA and career technical education courses here in Minnesota. He began his teaching career in 1996 at Brainerd High School and worked there until 2008 when he entered the private sector selling welding equipment as well as servicing that equipment and educating customers on how to use it.

He returned to teaching technical education classes in 2010 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd and remained there until 2014, when he took a job teaching welding at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

He began his teaching career at Saint Peter High School this school year, while his wife, Denise, teaches in the farm business management program at South Central College, North Mankato. The Reesers have three school-aged children, Shelby, MaryEmma, and Brooke, who attend New Prague Public Schools. 

Local FFA chapter earns prestigious national award
South Central Agri-Science Academy FFA members returned home recently from the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., where they were awarded the prestigious 3-Star National Chapter Award, the highest honor a school FFA chapter can receive.
The South Central Agri-Science Academy FFA chapter is based out of Saint Peter High School and its advisor is Gena Lilienthal, South Central Agri-Science Academy instructor. According to Lilienthal, the local chapter was one of only four FFA chapters in Minnesota earn the 3-Star Award with Chatfield, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, and Sleepy Eye being the others.
According to the FFA website (, "The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards (NQCS) and a Program of Activities (POA) that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership."
“Each officer took time to write one page of the application last spring,” Lilienthal said. “The application highlights our chapter's activities and the impact those activities have on our members, school, and community.  In order to compete at national convention, our application had to earn high honors at the Minnesota State Convention.  
“This past July I submitted our application to Nationals. This is the first time our chapter has had members recognized on the national stage, which was a great experience for our FFA students.”
A rewarding trip all around
The National FFA Convention took place at various locales in Indianapolis the week of October 22-25, and included such venues as Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers), Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts) and the Indianapolis Convention Center.
“National FFA Convention is always an exciting event because of the motivational speakers, interactive career fair, and the spectacle of being surrounded by students from throughout the entire country,” Lilienthal said. “This year was extra special to watch our students be recognized for their efforts.  Even though we are a young chapter, it was rewarding for our students to realize that their efforts in our small town can earn national honors.”  
An estimated 64,000 students, from around the U.S. and its territories, attended this year’s National FFA Convention.


“Besides an award session, we also walked around the National FFA Convention Expo,” Lilienthal said. “The Expo has numerous college recruiters, business displays and an agri-science fair.  The award ceremonies include motivational retiring addresses and professional speakers.  We listened to professional boxer Laila Ali and motivational speaker Jon Petz.  We also attended a private FFA concert with Rascal Flatts and Runaway June.”
The South Central Agri-Science Academy contingent also had the chance to tour two Indiana-based businesses -- the Albanese Confectionery Candy Factory (Merrillville, Ind.) and as well Hunter's Honey Farm (Martinsville, Ind.).