Carson masonry students build the welcome wall

  • Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 12:29 a.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, May 6, 2013 12:30 a.m.
Carson High School masonry students laid brick and block for the new China Grove welcome sign on Wednesday.  The new sign is located on Main Street in China Grove.
Carson High School masonry students laid brick and block for the new China Grove welcome sign on Wednesday. The new sign is located on Main Street in China Grove.

CHINA GROVE — Cody Mullis knew a little about masonry before he entered Brian Woodie’s masonry class at Carson High School. In fact his grandfather, Perry Upright, taught Woodie. The circle continued as Mullis is now in Woodie’s level three class.

The level three students have been using the skills they’ve learned to build a brick sign that will welcome visitors and residents to China Grove, just off U.S. 29.

Instructors Brian Woodie and Phillip Faggart alternate working with level one, two and three students. The level three students are mostly juniors and seniors.

The students have been working for a couple of weeks now and were approached with the project by the town.

Public Works Director David Ketner spoke with Woodie and Faggart to ask if the students would be interested in building the welcome sign.

“We looked at what the town wanted and what the kids were capable of doing,” Woodie said.

There are 30 students from the level three class that have helped build the wall. The students work on the wall during the last period of the day and some stay later to do more.

Ketner stopped by last week to look at the work the students had completed so far and said he was impressed with the work.

“They’re doing a good job,” he said.

“I knew a little about masonry, but I learned the tools and everything it takes. It’s good responsibility. It teaches us how to work hard without showing off,” Mullis said.

Mullis said he could do masonry work as a side job and said it’s a good skill to have.

“It’s good to learn the trade and learning with it a work ethic. You have stay with it just like one brick at a time in masonry,” Woodie said.

Hands-on labor is not new for student Grant Stokes who has worked in construction with his dad who owns Speck Builders.

“I’ve worked around it all my life,” he said.

Stokes said although he’s been around construction, he has learned a lot about masonry while in the class and through the project.

“I’ve learned job related skills — setting a scaffold, working on elevated surfaces,” he said.

Stokes said “it’s nice to know people will see this for years to come and I can say I built that.”

He said his father is pleased he’s learning different skills.

Michael Shook, 18, is appreciative of the town putting their trust in students to create something that will be apart of the town for years.

“I think it’s really neat how they put the trust in us. I think it’s real neat that this will all be here after we’re gone,” Shook said.

Connor Christman was also taken aback that the town would allow students to perform the work.

“They could’ve hired anyone to do it,” he said.

Christman said after three years in the class he has confidence in the job they are doing.

Student Max Lear, 17, said although he’s not sure what he wants to do in the future, masonry would be a skill he could use if he decided to go into this type of field.

“Overall it’s good experience. I’ve already helped out with a couple of jobs and I have done a job on my own,” he said.

Lear has twin brothers, Andy and Austin, 15, both in the level one masonry class.

Woodie said he expects the students will be finished by the end of the week. Once the students are finished, the horticulture students in Alex Silliman’s class will provide the landscaping around the sign.

The project is of little cost to the town since much of the labor and materials are donated. Johnson Concrete donated the concrete for the project, Taylor Clay provided the bricks, Corriher Sand and Stone provided the sand. Momentum Construction, who constructed the China Grove Fire Department, donated mortar and Chapman Custom Signs will create the town seal and affix it to the brick work.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253. Twitter: Facebook:

Notice about comments: is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.