Dakota Elswick recognized as Outstanding Alumni 2023

Outstanding Alumna—Dakota Elswick
Welding 2017

“Good Evening, I am Levi Retterer and I have the honor of introducing Dakota Elswick for the Tri Rivers Outstanding Alumni award. Dakota and I share the privilege of teaching the high school welding program together and I am proud of her for earning this recognition. Dakota started her welding career at a young age in Future Farmers of America, and then decided to complete the welding program at Tri Rivers during her junior and senior years.

She often talks about how she decided between Cosmetology and Welding, and in my opinion our great trade is better due to the decision she has made. Dakota is an Excellent role model and mentor, especially to the female students in the welding program. We have a large number of female welding students in our program currently and an even larger number enrolled for the upcoming year which I have no doubt is due to Dakota being a leader in the program.”

Staff and friends of Dakota often reminisce about when Dakota was a student here.  She would come into the lab still wearing her cheerleading uniform from her home school, change into work clothes and get to work to refine her craft. That tradition carries on to this day, as Dakota often out welds everyone in that lab with fingernails that make me wonder how she can fit a pair of gloves on over them.

Her skills and abilities rival many experts in the field, and she carries herself like a true professional in the classroom. Dakota is also a devoted mother to her two children, Hunter and Harper alongside her husband Shawn who is also a graduate of the welding program. She is a friend to many and a passionate educator. I count myself lucky to work with such a great person. 

Congratulations on this well deserved honor.