Making the Grade
Brandon Campanaro came to Williamson [Free School of Mechanical Trades] from Altoona Vo-Tech. He possessed excellent masonry skills, but lacked maturity and technical masonry knowledge," said Daniel L. Hiltebeitel, masonry instructor at Williamson.
Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades is a private, dormitory trade school in the Philadelphia suburb of Media, Pa. The school requires rigid disciplinary conformity. And, evidently, Williamson and Hiltebeitel were just what Campanaro needed.
Hiltebeitel has sponsored participants in the national masonry contest nine times, earning two first-place awards, a second-place award and three third-place awards. Campanaro himself won a third-place award in the post-secondary category this past summer.
"At Williamson, Brandon matured, adjusted and continued to improve his masonry skills," Hiltebeitel said. "He grew into a fine young man and an excellent mason."
It wasn't easy, either. During high school, Campanaro lived with his grandmother. When she passed away, her home (and Brandon's) was re-possessed. His permanent home became the Williamson School; and yet, Hiltebeitel said, Campanaro "continued to be a pleasant and positive bricklayer."
Campanaro's summer internships in masonry were spent laying brick and block for both union and non-union mason contractors in the Philadelphia area.
When he graduated from Williamson, Campanaro received the highest honors in his class and the John Sabia Award for speed and skill in bricklaying.
Campanaro is currently employed as a union apprentice in Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local #1 of Pennsylvania/Delaware.
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