By Ramona du Houx
In January, Rich Ciarcia, a board member of the Maine School of Masonry, presented a hand carved stone that reads, Maine School of Masonry to the founder of the school, Stephen D. Mitchell. Ciarcia meticulously carved the inscription, and is a graduate of MSM. The monument will be displayed in the entrance of the school and serves as a testament to the craftsmanship the school inspires.
“It was such a wonderful surprise,” said Mitchell, the school’s founder and director. “We never expected it and are humbled by Rich’s commitment to our school.”
Recently, state Rep. Tom Saviello hosted Mitchell on his local Mt. Blue T.V. show “Talkin Maine,” to get the word out about what the Maine School of Masonry has to offer students who want to succeed in the craft. There is a shortage of masons throughout the United States. A 2015 study by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 55 percent of masonry contractors reported having trouble filling jobs.
Click here to see the show: http://www.mtbluetv.org/program-talkin-maine.html
The Maine School of Masonry has been teaching students for more than 13 years, training future masons in the timeless art. The school also lines up jobs for graduates at nine businesses. Their unique Historic Restoration and Preservation program takes students to work on sites listed as National Registered Historic buildings. Currently these classes are working on restoring Fort Knox near Prospect and the Kennebec Arsenal in Augusta.
Chandler Ellis is currently enrolled in the school’s historic restorative masonry program. Ellis is taking advantage of work opportunities provided by the school, earning $18 per hour while learning on the job.
“It makes me proud to think I can make a difference restoring a 200 to 300 year-old building, so it’ll be here for future generations,” said Ellis.
The on-the-job learning experience for students at these historic landmarks is unsurpassed as they’re trained by master masons, who have years of experience and insights into the craft that they are willing to share. It’s the only course of its kind in America.