Spring Branch ISD Featured News

‘Building futures brick by brick,’ high school students explore construction pathways during Masonry ROCKS! event


Masonry Council@SWHS.mp4 from SBISD on Vimeo.

The Texas Masonry Council recently held a Masonry ROCKS! event at Spring Woods High School (SWHS), where Construction Technology students from SWHS and Northbrook High School (NHS) engaged in interactive construction experiences. 

During the event, students learned first-hand how to operate a scissor lift, its functions and safety procedures. They also learned how to mix mortar and even had the chance to engage in bricklaying with the guidance of experienced construction professionals. 

“This is a great event and good opportunity for students to get involved and get hands-on experience,” said John Matthews, SWHS Construction Technology teacher. “We have covered much of the construction processes in the classroom and these activities put their knowledge into action. Events like this also go hand in hand with SBISD’s vision of T-2-4, as it introduces them to technical programs.” 

Masonry ROCKS! aims to educate students on the masonry construction industry and the benefits of learning the trade. Introducing students to technical education like masonry, helps students reach T-2-4 success, where every graduate attains a technical certificate, military training or a two-year or four-year degree. 

The students are part of Spring Branch ISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Architecture and Construction program. They can choose to pursue Architectural Design, Construction Technology or Electrical Technician pathways. The students gain knowledge and skills through instruction, skills practice and engaging in hands-on activities. 

Tony Topping, Masonry ROCKS! executive director, notes that the masonry industry is looking to educate and recruit the next generation of masons. 

“During this event, students learned what masonry is, potential careers and how they can get involved,” said Topping. “We have various contractors who are willing to hire students on the spot. This is a great opportunity for them to start planning their future.”

Students also practiced their interviewing skills through mock interviews with masonry contractors. They were excited to engage in real-world experiences and prepare for future endeavors. 

Javier Fuentes, a senior at NHS, has been in the construction program throughout his four years and has gained valuable skills that he will take to his role post-graduation. 

“I’ve learned to stay patient and to take it slow to get it right, which bricklaying is helping me practice. I have also developed a good work ethic, as my teachers have constantly motivated me,” said Javier. “After graduation, I will be working as a welder in my dad’s welding company.” 

Michael Martinez, NHS Construction Technology teacher and SWHS alumnus, mentions students are putting into practice much of what they have learned in the classroom, such as utilizing tools. 

Looking back on his high school career, Martinez notes that he would have been very interested in masonry and construction if he understood what it entailed. 

“I like to tell my students that construction is a lot more fun than they think. You are growing up to play with all the toys you had, you are on job sites creating buildings!” said Martinez. “These lessons give our students a different outlook and even help them get their credentials to enter the workforce after graduation. We’re building futures brick by brick.”

Learn more about Career and Technical Education programming in SBISD. 

See the full album of the event!