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March 15, 2006 7:33 AM CST

A Challenging Student and a Dedicated Instructor


"My Dad said I couldn't do it," Geoffrey MacEwen said, as he explained how he eventually took the comment as a challenge and worked hard to prove his father wrong.

His instructor, William Adams of Oswego County BOCES B. Ramer Tech, saw MacEwen from another perspective. "When he started in May of 2004, I had trouble keeping him focused," Adams said. "By the fall of 2004, I could see a dramatic change. His attitude improved dramatically, and his trowel and level skills accelerated."

"The most important thing Mr. Adams told me is that nothing is perfect, but you can get pretty darn close," MacEwen said. "That's what I started working toward."

After just 18 months of training, MacEwen had won a regional bricklaying contest and the New York State competition. He advanced to the National Masonry Contest, held each June in Kansas City, Mo.

MacEwen's proud parents give much of the credit to Adams. His mother, Silvan MacEwen, explained, "Let's give credit where credit is due. Geoff's instructor has had [seven] students make it to the national competition. Bill Adams can both identify and develop the talents of his students. His encouragement and faith in Geoff had a most positive impact on Geoff's life, both in his skills as a mason and as a person."

Adams returned the favor and said, "Geoff is a very polite and well-mannered young man. His skills and his attitude will make him an asset to any company."

Since receiving his diploma, MacEwen has been employed by Edgerton Masonry, working as a tender/apprentice on projects throughout central and upstate New York. And, though he no longer races competitively, motocross remains his favorite hobby.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at


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