Beauty and the Bricks

Olivia Autrey has been a member of the Union Highsteppers Dance Team since 6th grade, performing choreographed dance and precision drill routines, on the sidelines of sporting events, competitions, and various community activities. Next year, she will gain the title of “Lifer” within the organization, an accomplishment that makes her very proud.

“Highsteppers has been so much fun,” Autrey said. “We combine dance moves with military maneuvers and precision, and our goal is to perform as a single unit. I think it’s really cool, and I have enjoyed being a part of the group for this long.”

So many folks were a little surprised, including her school counselor, when this accomplished dancer first shared her interest in studying construction-related programs.

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“When I ask my counselor about careers in construction, his first suggestions were like architecture, or blueprint design,” Autrey said. “Once he realized I actually wanted to build something, we began to discuss the construction programs at Tulsa Tech.”

The Union High School junior had already completed a carpentry class, and had always been interested in welding, but after researching several construction-related programs, something about masonry caught her eye.

“I’ve always thought welding was interesting,” Autrey said. “But after I read about masonry and brick construction, I changed my mind. Once you begin to look around, at all of the structures, you begin to see how many amazing things are constructed using bricks and stones.”

Tulsa Tech’s Masonry program provides students with an opportunity to create residential and commercial structures using brick, block, rock, and tile. Students use the same equipment as professionals to construct decorative walls, patios, fountains, and fireplaces. The program also teaches students how to interpret blueprints, plan, and estimate time and materials, for a variety of construction projects.

“My favorite part of the program is the amount of hands on work,” Autrey said. “The class is like a job site, with students doing all of the construction.”
Chauncey Kila, Tulsa Tech’s Masonry Instructor, believes his student has two important skills required to achieve success.

“Don’t be fooled by her size,” Kila said. “Olivia’s determination and willingness to learn is incredible. I value her as a student because she enrolled in masonry with a purpose. Despite her busy schedule at Union, she still manages to come to class and give 100% effort in everything she does.”

This high-stepping student also has some high goals; she wants to learn how to build with her hands, because she plans to join the National Guard in the near future.

“I plan on joining the Oklahoma National Guard,” Autrey said. “I want to continue to work with masonry and building construction. I chose the Guard because I like the idea of being able to help locally, to help the people of my state with emergencies like the reconstruction associated with tornadoes we’ve seen in Moore and other communities.”

The future builder credits her identical twin sister Victoria, with being the biggest influence in her life.

“She’s the smart twin,” Autrey joked. “Our competition always pushes each of us to accomplish our goals, she is my best friend, having a twin is really special.”
Each day at Tulsa Tech, students are making their own path, and masonry student Olivia Autrey is an example of what individuals can accomplish when they combine their goals with the many programs available at our campuses.

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality customized corporate training, or wish to build a new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5200 or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.

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