A gift from the heart, built to stand the test of time

APR ARCH Dragonfly

Mother’s Day was coming up and Darien Farkas knew how much his girlfriend’s mother loved dragonflies so he decided to set out to make her one. At the time, Darien was one of Bob Senechal’s students at APR Welding Academy enrolled in a 20 week welding techniques program.

After pitching his unique gift idea, Bob decided that with instruction Darien could proceed with the project. Darien’s first task, find the materials that he would need to construct a dragonfly and he did just that, coming back with various materials.

After investing a considerable number of hours building the dragonfly, the final product was ready to be revealed. Impressed with Darien’s project, Bob posted a picture of the dragonfly on Facebook, explaining that it was fabricated by one of his students at the Welding Academy.

Soon after the posting, Bob received a message from a former welder at the academy who explained that his father had recently pasted away from cancer and spent his last days at ARCH. He went on to say that the dragonfly had been adopted as a symbol for ARCH. It was suggested that the Academy should set out to build one on a larger scale to be donated to ARCH.

And so a small project grows into something much larger!

Bob approached the students enrolled in the Academy’s 20 week welding techniques program at the time with the idea of building a larger scale model of the one Darien has just completed as a gift. He went on to tell them about the post he had placed on Facebook, the message he received in response from the former welder, as well as the suggestion which resulted. Darien and another student Macaulay Bean voiced how much respect and admiration they had for the ARCH Hospice. They understood the importance of the dragonfly to the hospice and expressed their eagerness to put the skills they had learned at the Academy to use to create something beautiful.

“The students drove this project”, said Bob Senechal. Both he and another instructor, Frank Bock, wanted to make it a student motivated project. Both instructors made themselves available to provide support and guidance to Darien and Macaulay as they forged ahead with the new project.

It was quickly discovered that designing a model such as this was mostly trial and error. They had no blueprints to follow and the first design they attempted didn’t quite turn out as envisioned. Darien and Macaulay found out there is a lot of planning that goes into a project like this; creating a design, determining how that design is going to be put together and figuring out what materials could be used to give the desired effect. The materials used during their first attempt were salvaged and reused for their next attempt.

Not knowing if ARCH would display the sculpture outside in one of their beautiful gardens or somewhere within the newly expanded facility, the team took great care to avoid unforeseen mishaps by making sure the sculpture was safe and free of sharp edges.

In total Darien Farkas and Macaulay Bean, with the assistance of instructors Bob Senechal and Frank Bock, spent between 40-45 hours in the design and fabrication of their dragonfly sculpture.

Once construction was finished, the sculpture was brought over to Alfano Bros Auto Body Ltd. to be sandblasted before painting.

“The auto body shop did a wonderful job. When Enzo Alfano heard what the project was about and where the sculpture’s final destination was going to be, they wanted to contribute to the project and wouldn’t accept payment for their services.”, said Bob Senechal.

APR ARCH DragonflyUpon hearing about the project, Dave Ostrowski from DOGhouse Custom Paint and Airbrush offered to paint the sculpture. Dave provided the paint, materials and labor free of charge. Within two weeks the sculpture was back at APR Welding Academy beautiful painted, with iridescent colours.

A true piece of art!

In addition to the 40 – 45 hours of fabrication time, 12-17 hours was donated in sandblasting and painting what turned out to be a magnificent piece of art. Bob expressed his amazement at the number of local people offering their skills and expertise with this very unique project.

Bob praised the student’s efforts and throughout my conversation with him, mentioned that both Darien and Macaulay devoted much of their own time towards the successful completion of this project.

“They went full steam ahead, with no regrets. I have to give my hats off to them for doing this specific project. Within weeks of graduating from the APR Welding Academy, both students have found fulltime employment working for local contractors.”, stated Bob.

I also had the opportunity to speak with Frank Bock, a fellow instructor at the academy, who had this to say about the Dragonfly project and his experience working with Darien and Macaulay.

“Having the opportunity to work alongside of Macaulay and Darien has given me a whole new outlook on the youth of today .Too much bad news about our younger generation seems to get more attention than necessary. These two have a great work ethic and a genuine concern for community as seen by the attention put on the Dragonfly for ARCH. Bob Senechal owner operator of APR welding who has processed many students in his years teaching speaks very well of the effort put into the demanding programs that these two you were handed.”, said Frank Bock.

APR ARCH DragonflyThis past September, SaultOnline was invited to take part in the presentation of the Dragonfly to Arch Hospice at the APR Welding Academy. Bob Senechal  was gracious enough to give us a sneak peek before the unveiling and I must say I was completely blown away at the innovative way the students used items around the shop to create such a beautiful piece of art. Take a moment to watch the following video:

I had an opportunity to speak with Macaulay and Darien prior to presentation at which time they both expressed their excitement about the big reveal.

“I’m excited! I hope they like it and I hope somebody appreciates it”, said Macaulay Bean.

“I’m excited for them to see it, as soon as we unveil it… it’s going to be amazing”, said Darien Farkas

Julie Premo, Manager of Support Services at ARCH, as well as Katherine Williamson, Event Coordinator, attended on behalf of Arch Hospice to receive the magnificent piece of art created from love and passion from a number of local businesses in our Naturally Gifted Community.

The Story of the Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles.

They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before.His life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life”.


About APR Welding Academy

A.P.R. Welding & Consulting o/a A.P.R. Welding Academy is registered as a private career college under the Private Career colleges Act 2005 having opened their doors to individuals looking for a career in welding over 21 year ago. Bob Senechal owner and operator A.P.R. Welding & Consulting Corp o/a A.P.R. Welding Academy was previously an instructor at Sault College up until 1997 when their welding program was discontinued.  After numerous hours of research it was realized that in fact there was enough business requiring experienced welders to warrant opening up a small private school.

 A.P.R. Welding Academy offers programs: 20 week Welding Technique Program, Metal Fabricator (Fitter) Program and Pipe Welder Program. The Academy is also a ministry approved Training Delivery Agents (TDAs) with the apprenticeship branch (456A) welder level 1, 2, 3 (437A) Metal Fabricator (Fitter) Level 1, 2, 3

A.P.R. Welding Academy is an Accredited Canadian Welding Bureau (C.W.B.) and Technical Standards & Safety Authority (T.S.S.A) Test Centre.