Dakota York placed second in the Missouri SkillsUSA conference at Linn State Technical College with his sculpture, “E Pluribus Unum,” or “One From Many.”

After asking his family and friends for their ideas about how to depict this nation, York worked with his welding instructor, Alex Neuman at the Waynesville Career Center, to use his skills to showcase America’s strength.

The resulting sculpture details the culmination of his thoughts. The sculpture’s base is a star and represents the foundation of this country and the strength to support its people. The flag, which rests upon the star, is composed of mild steel and multiple strips of copper and stainless steel, representing the 13 colonies and 50 states. Rising up from the flag are multiple rings – one ring depicting the five armed services who protect the nation and the second with the phrase, “E Pluribus Unum,” which appears on the Seal of the United States. The rings are held together by five ball bearings, symbolizing unity, truth, respect, liberty and freedom.  

York, a Plato student, used gas metal arc welding, a pulse spray transfer and gas tungsten arc welding processes, along with torchmate engraving and torchmate plasma cutters, to create the sculpture. After sanding the sculpture, he sprayed a clear coat to prevent oxidization.

This sculpture means more to me personally than being able to compete and show my skills,” York says. “This is what my father and his fellow soldiers have fought for to keep the flag flying high above our great nation. This sculpture lets me show my father the gratitude I feel for what he has done for me and my family and this great nation. This nation we live in is the greatest nation in the world. Our forefathers fought for this great nation to have independence, freedom and unity so that we are one from many. Let’s remember the past so we can look toward the future to keep this country great!”