CATS Students create a Volcano for Holiday Lights on the River

Students from the Center for Advanced Technical Studies in Chapin created a lighted volcano to be featured in Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park.

Each year, the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission hosts Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park, which is the largest drive-through lights show in the Midlands.

This year, the ICRC asked the Center for Advanced Technical Studies in Chapin to design and build a volcano for their dinosaur display, and the creativity began flowing from there.

“We had a choice between an abominable snowman, a volcano, and a football player,” said CATS Student Intern Tabby Lo.  “When I saw the volcano I said, ‘Ok, I have to do this one’ because you get to have a lot more imagination with a volcano.  There’s so much movement and direction in it.”

Tabby teamed up with her friend and fellow Digital Art and Design Student Intern Lauren VanMiddlesworth to design the giant, lighted volcano.

“It first started out in the workroom, we were drawing on the whiteboard and just brainstorming,” VanMiddlesworth said.  “Then I just used the iPad and the Apple Pencil, and I started sketching.  We just kind of worked at it, we talked to some people who gave us feedback, and it became this design.”

Tabby and Lauren then handed off the completed design to Welding Student Intern Titus Lee, who started building the frame of the mammoth 20-foot tall, 16-foot wide volcano.

“My favorite part of this project was the welding,” Lee said.  “With each piece you weld on there, you just keep seeing the shape and the whole picture of it coming together, and it just makes you feel more confident about the project.”

With the 20-by-16 frame completed, a team of Electricity Student Interns put the icing on the cake by adding strand after strand of Christmas lights.  The completed volcano was then transported to Saluda Shoals Park and assembled in its spot in the dinosaur display.

“We really lean on some of the knowledge these kids are gaining, and they are helping us be innovative in this program,” said ICRC Superintendent of Operations and Facilities Jay Downs.  “We thought this was a real win-win opportunity for everybody, and it has been a delightful program to work on.”

“I never thought that something I drew on the computer would end up somewhere where thousands of people could see it,” VanMiddlesworth said.

“I’m so excited!  Being able to make a project for everyone else to see is an amazing opportunity,” Lo said.  “It’s just so much fun to see your design up there.”