RSS
TwitterFacebookGoogle+YouTubeLinkedIn

March 2009: Making the Grade

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

March 2009

Making the Grade

Starting Them Young

If you want a good read on a masonry student, just ask a veteran masonry instructor.

“Kevin Morris is one of the most outstanding young men I have ever had in my class, and I mean that,” says Carlos G. Jones Sr., masonry instructor at Camden County High School in Kingsland, Ga. “I can’t say enough about this young man. He’s young, yet he’s outstanding.”

Jones has been teaching masonry in the classroom for more than 30 years. His student, Kevin Morris, qualified for and participated in the high school division of the National Masonry Contest when he was only a sophomore. The contest was held in conjunction with the 44th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference in Kansas City, Mo.

 
Kevin Morris shows off his masonry skills.

Morris is equally complimentary of his instructor. “[Jones] has always believed in me,” says Morris. “He encourages me, telling me how well I’m doing and how successful I can be.

“At school, we’re supposed to take an introduction to four different trade units,” says Morris. “My first unit was masonry. On the last day, Mr. Jones told me I’d scored a 95 on my performance test. He said I had a knack for it and offered to let me stay in the program.”

Later that year, Morris entered his first competition in a local contest in Starke, Fla. As the awards were being announced, Morris believed his project to be the worst of all the entries.  He was right, and he vowed never to let that happen again.

After that contest, Morris met Al Herndon of the Florida Masonry Apprentice and Education Foundation, who spoke to Morris’ class, and Greg Moore of Florida Rock Industries. Herndon offered inspiration and opportunity, and Moore offered to provide Morris with practice materials.

Ever since, Morris has been practicing at home in his spare time. He started using his home basketball court as a storage and prep area, and began improving his speed and quality.

“My next competition was a regional SkillsUSA competition, and I was really nervous,” Morris says. “When I took first place, I knew the hard work and knowledge was starting to pay off. I was getting ready to have a shot at going to the national competition.

“At the state competition, I remember sitting in a high school gymnasium in Lafeyette County, Ga., hearing ‘masonry’ being announced,” he continues. “I figured that at best, I’d maybe take third or second. They called both, but neither was my name. Then, they announced my name, ‘First place, Kevin Morris.’”

Morris is still practicing at home and is starting to get calls from contractors for small projects.
“My parents have supported my love for masonry, so they get credit, too,” Morris says. “They’ve purchased my tools and supplies.”

Morris’ fellow student, Garrett Tanner, shared stories about his dad, Norman Tanner, who is a block, brick and stone mason. Morris eventually began to work with Norman on local projects, amazed by his speed and accuracy. His obvious influence on Morris was positive and motivating.

Not only does Morris possess natural abilities as a mason, he also is pleasurable to work alongside.

“It’s a credit to Kevin that he works so well with my other students,” says Jones. “I assigned one of my slower and disinterested students to work with Kevin. In no time, the student was more enthusiastic and doing better work. He works really hard and has such a great attitude.”

It’s no surprise that Morris has his sights set on many goals. “I want to win [SkillsUSA],” he says. “I can earn a scholarship for that. Then, I hope to get accepted to Mr. Herndon’s apprenticeship program.”

Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 49
    Archives - 2005 and 2004 2005December- Staying Up and Running- Cast Stone for Masonry Construction- It's a Game of InchesNovember- Outcome of Masonry Industry Issues at Code Hearings- Investigators Examine Masonry Affected by Hurricane Katrina in Gulf States- Make an Educated Choice- The Fight Against Time- Water, Water EverywhereOctober- Cold Weather Masonry Construction- The Heat…
    Tags: masonry
  • 45
    Archives - 2003 and 2002 2003 December 2003 - Self-Consolidating Grout... This Isn't Your Father's Grout Mix- Diamonds are a Mason's Best Friend- Masonry's Past, Future Come to Life at National Building Museum- A Layperson's Guide to Delay Claims, Part IINovember- Through Thick and Thin- The Chemistry of Waterproofing- All-Pro (Tool) Defenders- Your 2004 Marketing…
    Tags: masonry
  • 45
    December 2012 Fireplaces and Chimneys The Masonry Heater Revealed By Jennifer Morrell Contraflow masonry heater by Bob Weaver Masonry Winter is approaching, and for many of us, that means lighting a fire to warm our bones and our souls. Perhaps one of the most opulent examples of a mason’s talents can be showcased in the…
    Tags: masonry
  • 44
    September 2012 Business Management What It Takes Interview by Jennifer Morrell The best way to learn what it takes to keep a masonry construction business in the black is to go straight to the sources. Masonry consulted three of our industry’s best, each with a unique perspective on successfully managing his masonry business. We spoke…
    Tags: masonry
  • 43
    July 2009 Technology MasonrySystems.org By Chris Mayo The tools of masonry have, for the most part, remained unchanged for centuries. A 21st century trowel, for instance, isn’t much different than a trowel used during the construction of great cathedrals during the 16th century. A hammer is still a hammer and a chisel is still a…
    Tags: masonry

MASONRY MAGAZINE VIDEO NEWS

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products