May 2008: Making the Grade

Words: Dan KamysMay 2008

Making the Grade

Lovin' Life

Colton Sherman of Cardington, Ohio, seems to be a true Jack-of-all-trades. As a student at Cardington Lincoln High School, Sherman wrestled and rode bucking bulls while attending Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion, Ohio. He still made time in the evenings to work on his family's farm, growing crops and raising livestock.

Sherman learned a number of life lessons and garnered many practical skills from his extracurricular activities. Today, those skills enhance the quality of his masonry work.

Sherman's interest in wrestling seems to parallel the qualities of many masons. "I started wrestling in fifth grade," he says. "I thought it was more competitive than other sports. I liked the fact that, in wrestling, you are on your own. No one else is accountable for your performance and your results."

Sherman's independence and individualism found a place for him in the rodeo arena, too. "I got interested in bull riding, went to a bull riding school and rode bulls for two years," he says. "When I figured out there wasn't enough money in it, I attended Sankey Rodeo Schools to learn to be a bull fighter (rodeo clown). I still do that whenever I get an opportunity."

[caption id="attachment_10297" align="alignnone" width="418"]Colton Sherman enjoys a life of wrestlin', rodeo, brick and block. Colton Sherman enjoys a life of wrestlin', rodeo, brick and block.[/caption]

Sherman began the masonry program at Tri-Rivers Career Center during his junior year. The following summer, he worked part-time for a local masonry contractor. During his senior year in high school, he was allowed to attend school on alternating days as he worked through an apprentice program with local masonry contractor Ward Masonry.

Sherman participated in classroom competitions and open tournaments throughout his senior year, before advancing to district events and the state competition. Having won Ohio's Skills

USA masonry contest, Sherman represented Ohio in the secondary division of the national masonry contest held in Kansas City, Mo., last June.

Rob Buchanan, masonry instructor at Tri-Rivers, speaks highly of Sherman. "Colton is an all-around great kid," he says. "He takes pride in the quality of his work."

Likewise, Sherman credits Buchanan with providing him the knowledge he needed to successfully enter his profession. He is now a full-time employee in the apprentice program of Ward Masonry.

Sherman says he continues to learn via on-the-job training and experience building. "We completed a school building recently, and I learned so much from being a part of that from start to finish. "

Looking ahead, Sherman sees himself continuing his career as a mason, while continuing to help his family on their farm as much as he can.

     
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