Making the Grade
On a Positive Note…
Yeah, I heard it; some of them put me down,” says Shelby Crawford of her 44 male masonry competitors. “One of them said I might as well give it up now.”
Crawford competed in the 44th annual SkillsUSA national masonry contest in Kansas City in June 2008.
“I just told them ‘We’ll see after I compete,’” she says. “The best part was that I finished higher than many of my critics.”
Following graduation from Eureka Springs High School in Arkansas, Crawford returned to Kansas City to compete in her second national competition. Two excellent instructors trained her. Larry Wicker was her instructor during her junior year and was a mentor and supporter. He encouraged her to do anything – including masonry – that she desired.
“Mr. Wicker was an awesome instructor,” Crawford says. “He taught me everything I needed to know.”
“Shelby was dedicated, self-motivated, and exhibited strong leadership qualities,” says Wicker. “She helped her fellow students when the need arose and had a kind word for everyone.”
Mike Bonds was Crawford’s instructor her senior year.
“Mr. Bonds was taught by Mr. Wicker,” says Crawford. “He is so much like Mr. Wicker, it’s like we never lost [Wicker]. Mr. Bonds has done a great job.”
Crawford has participated in her SkillsUSA Club since her freshman year. An accomplished equestrian, she has been showing horses and winning awards and championships for years.
“Being part of SkillsUSA and competing have made me a better person. It’s taught me how to believe in myself and to work with others,” says Crawford, who will start a three-year program this fall at Northwest Arkansas Community College to become a registered nurse.
“Masonry work will help me (financially) get through nursing school,” she says. “I guess it doesn’t hurt to be qualified for two different careers.”