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Kelby Thornton of Central Cabarrus High School took home first place in the masonry category at the state competition.
Kelby Thornton of Central Cabarrus High School took home first place in the masonry category at the state competition.
May 16, 2016 7:00 AM CDT

Thornton wins N.C. SkillsUSA competition in masonry

Kelby Thornton advances to national competition


Kelby Thornton said he has always enjoyed working with his hands and helping his dad with the landscaping business. Well all that work paid off when Thorton, a junior at Central Cabarrus High School, placed first in masonry during the SkillsUSA North Carolina competition.

SkillsUSA is a national organization consisting of students, teachers and industry professionals working to make sure the country has a skilled workforce by providing educational opportunities. The competition was held April 19-21 at the Koury Convention Center and Thornton was given three hours to build a wall.

“I’ve never been one to sit inside. I enjoy doing this stuff,” Thornton said. “I’ve built fire places and retaining walls.”

Thornton practiced in the masonry lab at Central Cabarrus after school and during Spring Break to prepare for the competition. He also placed fifth in a local masonry competition held at Lowe’s Hardware in Concord.

“I felt accomplished at Lowe’s. But I knew I had to keep my head in the game so I could come back for states,” Thornton said.

Since Thornton placed first, he will now go on to compete in the SkillsUSA national competition in Louisville, Kentucky in June. He is joining what is becoming a long list of Central Cabarrus students who have qualified nationally for masonry.

Todd Hartsell, masonry teacher and SkillsUSA advisor at Central Cabarrus, has had seven students qualify for nationals.

“I was proud of myself for winning state. I’m humbled about it,” Thornton said. “But I have to keep my head for nationals.”

At the national competition Thornton will have six hours to build a larger wall.

About the Author

Erin Kidd is a general assignment reporter for The Independent Tribune in Concord, North Carolina.

This article was originally published in The Independent Tribune. This content has been republished with the permission of the publisher.


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