News & Media

I-SS Students Learning the Basics of Masonry

Students at the Career Academy and Technical are getting a head start on masonry careers.

New teacher William Pennell will soon lead students in their first masonry project for the school, building a sign framed in brick in front of the auto technology building.

“Students are learning the basics and fundamentals of laying brick and getting a feel for it by spreading mud and buttering the brick,” said Pennell. “I have students of all levels from beginner to more experienced.”

The students are learning the process and techniques from Pennell in an open classroom.

Pennell recently showed student Corbin McDonald tips and tricks.

“I learned how to lay and mix mud. I’m not that good at it yet,” McDonald said.

According to Pennell, stone masonry is one of the first professions in the history of construction. It’s considered a traditional skill.

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units laid in and bound together by mortar. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, stone, marble, granite, travertine, limestone, cast stone, concrete block, glass block, stucco tile and cob.

Pennell said that learning a trade is a good opportunity to give students ideas about their future.

“Not every student is going to attend a four-year college. Masonry is a skill that they can learn and it will help give them experience and an opportunity of getting a job in the field right after they graduate,” Pennell said.

Pennell pointed out that all classes at CATS prepare students to go directly into the workforce.

Pennell said his class is a good fit for students who like working with their hands and who like building something that will last a lifetime.

This is Pennell’s first year teaching. He has more than 20 years of experience in brick masonry and his dad was a mason. He’s also skilled in carpentry and will teach a carpentry class next semester.

Source: Iredell Free News, “A Solid Foundation: CATS Students Learning the Basics of Masonry”, October 10, 2021,