Making the Grade
Logan De Cleene, 18, of De Pere, Wis., is following in his father's footsteps... and his grandfather's... and his great-grandfather's, uncles' and cousin's! At the same time, De Cleene has blazed his own trail by representing Wisconsin in the National Masonry Contest. And De Cleene did that without the benefit of formal, technical masonry training!
"My school [De Pere High School] doesn't have a masonry program. A few years ago, a couple of kids at school wanted to learn masonry, so they recruited my dad to teach them," De Cleene says. "I was a freshman then, and Dad started teaching me, too.
"Dad found a warehouse, and we'd go in there, set up our scaffolding and build practice projects. The first thing I learned was how to mix the mud," De Cleene explains.
All the time he was practicing masonry, De Cleene was active in high school football and tennis, as well as his church volleyball and softball teams. And, as would be expected from a Wisconsin resident, he likes to hunt and fish.
During his sophomore year, De Cleene entered his state masonry contest and won it during his junior year. Last summer, De Cleene participated in the national masonry contest held in conjunction with the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference at Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Mo. A scheduling conflict prevented his attempt to return to the national competition this year.
Logan De Cleene is part of a family business. His great-grandfather was a stone mason who owned a quarry where three distinct types of stone were cut. De Cleene Masonry was established by Logan's grandfather in 1967. Since his grandfather's passing 19 years ago, his now-79-year-old grandmother, LaVerne, has continued running the business as President and Owner of the company. Many De Cleenes are employed in the business.
"Pretty much my whole family is involved in the business, and that includes my uncles and my cousin," De Cleene says.
De Cleene plans to enroll this fall at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and major in radio, television and film. "Masonry is my fall-back position," De Cleene says. "And, I can work for my dad during summers and on school breaks."
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