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A 2012 Exeter High School graduate has won a gold medal in a national masonry competition.
Mike Kern is also a 2012 graduate of the Masonry program at Berks Career and Technology Center’s East Campus in Oley. He earned a Gold Medal in the Individual Masonry Competition at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Missouri on June 26.
The National Conference brings together thousands of students from across the country who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. To get to the national competition, Kern had to first qualify at the district and state level skill and leadership competitions.
“It’s awesome,” Kern said of his win. “I’m really happy. It was one of my goals when I first started in shop.”
At the competition, Kern said he faced about 35 competitors.
“We were given a blueprint of a brick and block composited project. We had to lay it out level plumb, square and to the correct dimensions within six hours. It was a 32-inch by 32-inch square, approximately 44 inches tall. I was finished building in about five hours, and then I was working on making it as perfect as I could.” Kern finished with about 30 minutes to spare. He scored a 91.33 percent on the project.
Adding to the excitement of the competition was the fact that Kern’s masonry instructor at BCTC was his father – Michael Kern.
“It was an experience having dad as teacher. It was challenging but very rewarding,” he added.
Since graduation, Kern has been working for the Witmer Group, a masonry contractor in Mount Joy.
SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers, high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. SkillsUSA participants are working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
Students attending BCTC have the opportunity to participate in Career & Technical Student Organizations such as SkillsUSA. Participation in these organizations fosters leadership, community service, and cooperative interaction among students and faculty. Students enjoy an array of activities, including; career and technology fairs, field trips, service projects, special events and skill competitions.