Maureen Lynch, Superintendent
115 Amesbury Line Road
Haverhill, MA 01830
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Whittier Teams Place First at Massachusetts Trowel Trades Competition
Students Showcase Skills in Masonry and Hardscaping
HAVERHILL — Superintendent Maureen Lynch is pleased to announce that two Whittier teams finished in first place at today’s 20th annual Trowel Trades Competition.
Organized by the Massachusetts Trowel Trades Association, the competition tests students’ ability to complete masonry and hardscaping challenges in a set amount of time.
This year’s competition was held at Whittier, where approximately 90 students from seven area schools had three hours to complete individual brick and block challenges, or a hardscaping design in teams of three.
Masonry, also known as trowel trades, can be seen in office buildings, homes, schools, factories and municipal buildings. The work involves block and brick laying, tile setting, concrete finishing and stone setting.
“With everything becoming so automated, masonry and hardscaping is one of the last hands on trades,” Superintendent Lynch said. “It’s really a lost art form, so it’s great to be able to see students create some beautiful structures while interacting and learning from their peers. Everyone worked hard today and created some great pieces, so we’re extremely excited to have our students place first in both categories.”
Outside, hardscaping teams quickly got to work laying paving stones and building a retaining wall, using bricks and varying shades of gray stones to create their designs.
Throughout the competition, judges surveyed students’ work, giving it a thorough review before declaring winners at the three-hour mark.
One of Whittier’s team’s — senior Lauren Powers, of Haverhill, sophomore Brian Levesque, of Amesbury, and sophomore Asahya Hernandez, of Haverhill — placed first. The team worked well together, each checking the other’s work to ensure everything was level, properly laid out and aesthetically pleasing.
“I was dumbfounded when I heard our names,” Powers said. “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment. No one expects a girl to be good in this trade, but we proved them wrong.”
“I was shocked, but at the same time, not shocked,” added Hernandez, who participated in the competition for the first time this year. “We made sure everything was perfect, so I had a good feeling.”
Inside one of Whittier’s bays, sophomores, juniors and seniors competed against students in their grades in traditional masonry projects, building brick and cement block walls.
Sophomore Lily Fox, of Amesbury, took first place in her grade level, despite not completely finishing the brick wall. Judges focused not on if a project was completed, but on the technique and appearance of students’ work.
“The kid next to me was wicked good and I didn’t think I was going to win,” Fox recalled. “I was surprised. A lot of people didn’t want me to pick masonry for my area of study, so I’m glad I’m doing my parents proud.”
Freshman Jordan Gouthier, of Bradford, and seniors Jonathan Caron and Christopher McNulty, both of Haverhill, earned fourth place in the brick and block challenge.
Other Whittier competitors included sophomores Matthew Livingood, of Haverhill, and Noah Foley, of Newburyport; juniors Edward Fernandez, of Haverhill, Xavier Valdivieso, of Haverhill, and Matthew Nunez, of Haverhill; and seniors Griffin Rogers, of Haverhill, and Shannon Loh, of Haverhill.
Students who placed first, second and third earned masonry tools donated by schools and industry partners. Every student, however, regardless of how they did in the competition, was able to take home a tool that they could use in their future work.
Other participating schools included Essex Tech, Greater Lowell Tech, Greater Lawrence Tech, Shawsheen Valley Tech, Bay Path Regional Tech and Montachusett Tech.