Stack’s Skills are Stacking Up


Anna Sampson, Staff Writer

It turns out, sometimes peer pressure works out for the best. At least in Peter Stewart Stack’s case, had it not been for some coercion from his girlfriend, he never would have even gone for Sterling Scholar for Skilled and Technical Sciences, let alone won.

Stack’s interest in Skilled and Technical Sciences started in high school, when he took the auto mechanics and welding class at Highland. This led to him taking up blacksmithing and welding as a hobby outside of school, even buying two trucks, an old Ford Ranger and an F-150, to work on. This recent start makes his win all the more impressive.

It was Stack’s girlfriend, Lola Maldonado, who convinced him to turn this hobby into an opportunity.

“She pushed me to do it,” Stack said, “but she’s gone a lot farther than me.”

Maldonado is Highland’s Science Sterling Scholar.

Stack entered the contest competing in the welding, woodworking, and auto categories, entering a bench, knives, tables, and a stand, all of which he made in his own garage. His set-up includes a forge, an anvil, a drill press, a welder, and angle grinders.

When he’s not in his garage making these items, he’s outside using them. According to Stack, it was his love of the outdoors that made him want to start blacksmithing and welding. From competing in cyclocross bike races since age 6 to climbing to the top of the Grand Teton in one day, it’s fair to say that Stack’s interests are impressively well-rounded. Some of his other hobbies include skiing, surfing, longboarding, playing the drums, and baseball, which he’s been playing since Little League and is currently an outfielder on Highland’s varsity team.  Although there’s not much use for a knife on the baseball field, Stack does use his projects, especially his knives, when he’s camping or just in the kitchen.

“I try to make them look cool, but they don’t always turn out great. It’s kind of just for fun,” Stack said, talking about his knives.

His interest in knife-making started after watching Forged in Fire, a reality TV show where renowned bladesmiths recreate famous weapons from throughout history. This was all the inspiration Stack needed to buy his own forge and get to work. He’s even taught some of his friends how to make their own knives.

“It takes a lot of time and practice,” Stack said.

Along with time and practice, however, it also takes a good amount of passion, motivation, and skill to become a good welder, qualities that Stack certainly does not lack.

“Peter has always been extremely athletic his whole life,” Stephanie Stewart, Stack’s mom said. “He’s an extremely well-rounded kid that’s talented athletically, musically, and academically. He’s also just a really kind person.”

Whether or not Stack chooses to implement his knack for Skilled and Technical Sciences after high school, he has a promising future ahead of him. His plans for after graduation include attending the University of Utah, where he has been accepted into the Business Scholars program under the merit scholarship.