FSCC Student Advances to National Masonry Competition

National Masonry Group

FSCC Student Advances to National Masonry Competition

Pittsburg, Kan.—In October 2015, Fort Scott Community College students got the opportunity to show off their masonry skills during the regional MCAA masonry competition held in Pittsburg, Kansas. During the competition, students were asked to build a large brick wall to a smaller scale utilizing specifications and blueprints. Competing against nine other students, sixteen-year-old Mack O’Dell earned top honors and a chance to compete at the national level on February 3. “I was a little nervous about competing, but I was confident in my abilities,” said O’Dell.
 
O’Dell is a Pittsburg High School student who is earning dual college credit through Fort Scott Community College. Through this program, high school students can earn college credit in areas such as masonry, construction, welding, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Following completion of a program, students can earn a certificate and go straight into the workforce. According to FSCC Masonry Instructor Nacoma Oehme, masonry programs like the one offered by FSCC are important for this area because the current workforce is aging and there are not enough students to fill that gap.
 
“I like the masonry classes at FSCC because my classwork is directly applicable to a career in masonry,” said O’Dell. “I can use these skills right away.” O’Dell said he has already built dog kennels, mailboxes, and other items for family and friends.
 
On February 3, O’Dell will compete in MCAA's Masonry Skills Challenge, a national competition, in Las Vegas, Nevada. To prepare for the competition, O’Dell has practiced weekly utilizing blueprints chosen with the help of Oehme. Generous local sponsors have donated funds to assist O’Dell with his trip—sponsors include Career and Technical Education Center of Crawford County, Labette Bank, O’Brien Ready Mix, Pittsburg High School, Van Becelaere Greenhouse and Feed Store, and Vinylplex.
 
Oehme said that competitions help masonry students strengthen important skills that they’ll use for years to come. “There is a real-life benefit to taking part in these competitions,” said Oehme. “Life is a competition. Later in life, these students may be competing for a job, or they may be competing for a contract as an employer.”
 
For more information about the FSCC Masonry Program, contact Nacoma Oehme, FSCC Masonry Instructor, at 620-232-5644 or 620-687-4224.