Triplett Tech masonry graduate places in national competition

Jeremy Morris, a recent graduate of Stonewall Jackson High School and Triplett Tech in Mount Jackson, has placed fourth in masonry at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference and Skills Championships held in Louisville, Kentucky.

It may not be first place, but it’s still fourth in the nation and Triplett Tech masonry teacher Gary Kibler pointed out it’s the best his students have achieved in the competition which took place last month.

He said 31 states were represented, and during his nine years at the school, Triplett Tech has qualified four times for the national competition.

Another of his students, Zach Hutchison, also attended after earning a first place win in bricklaying, but he couldn’t compete because the competition doesn’t have a national bricklaying event.

Morris, 18, was assigned Bon Tool Company’s No. 50 Masonry Project, which tested him on how well he could build an L-shaped wall that includes 24 blocks and 170 bricks with five outside corners and one inside, two header courses, a block course and a recessed panel.

Students had six hours to complete the project. The assignment had to meet specifications of height, length, depth and width.

It was difficult but doable, Morris stated in a news release from the school district. “The time snuck up on me, and I was kind of rushed at the end.”

Morris and 21 others finished the project in the allotted time, a fact Kibler attributed to his student’s talent.

“He did a good job,” Kibler said. “He represented Shenandoah County very well in a professional manner.”

Triplett Tech Principal Connie Pangle also attended the competition with her husband Mark and said it was exciting and fun seeing Morris compete.

“I think it’s outstanding for the school,” she said. Masonry has been a longtime strong program at the school, she said, “And this just adds a feather to its cap.”

“For a little old school here in Shenandoah County, we put our school on the map.”

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com