• 48°

Local student wins national masonry competition

Luke Dutton says he “took a chance” when he signed up for a masonry class as a freshman at West Rowan High School.

That chance paid off, however, when he won the national SkillsUSA masonry competition.

Dutton said his older sisters, who had friends who took masonry, said he would like the class.

“I took a chance on it,” he said, adding that he enjoyed it and began competing in local competitions his freshman year.

Dutton said he started taking the competitions seriously his junior year.

“Time was running out, and I hadn’t really done anything with them yet,” he said.

So, Dutton began investing more time and effort into developing his masonry skills.

He began staying after school in the shop laying brick to prepare for competitions.

“I would lay during the day during my class time. After school, I would stay after and lay a complete project start to finish every day,” he said. “You never really know what the project is (before a competition).”

Dutton said he would practice laying straight walls, corners and columns before each competition.

Earlier this school year, Dutton won the North Carolina SkillsUSA masonry competition. Winning the state competition made him the North Carolina representative for the national SkillsUSA championship, which was held June 25 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Right before the end of the school year, Dutton and several of his classmates built a sign for the Rowan-Salisbury Transportation Department’s bus garage. Building the sign gave Dutton the opportunity to practice building with real bricks and mortar, rather than with practice sand and lime mortar.

The national competition was two days. The first day included a 20-question written test, then the contestants found out what their project would be the next day.

On the second day, Dutton and the other contestants had six hours to complete a project.

“The project was a corner,” he said. “It had inset brick for the design on the front of it and it had a range of different materials included in it.”

Dutton said he used 4-, 6- and 8-inch block, normal brick and solid brick in his final project.

Halfway though the six-hour competition, Dutton said he was confident he had a good chance of winning.

“I was still nervous about it, but there was some confidence there,” he said. “I had a good feeling about it.”

He said he was pleased with the overall appearance and that he finished 30 minutes early.

“It was clean, and I didn’t splatter mortar all over the bricks,” Dutton added.

When he found out he won the competition, Dutton said he was “overjoyed.”

“It was a pretty long walk to the stage,” he said. “I took off running.”

Dutton graduated from West Rowan High School at the beginning of June. He plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the fall and major in mechanical engineering.



Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department


US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia


City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections


‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan


Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire


Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates


Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week


Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station


Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor


Road rage incident results in assault charges


Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed


Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening


Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need


Education shoutouts


Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts


March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available


Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships


Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors


Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program


Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push


Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot


GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package


FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID