Union Highstepper Passionate About Building

News From Tulsa Tech By DR. STEVE TIGER

LONG-TIME DANCER: Olivia Autrey, an accomplished dancer and member of Union High School’s Highsteppers, surprised many when she first shared her interest in studying masonry. Autrey is currently a junior in high school and enrolled in Tulsa Tech’s masonry program.

Courtesy Tulsa Tech

Olivia Autrey has been a member of the Union Highsteppers Dance Team since sixth 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 says. “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.

“When I ask my counselor about careers in construction, his first suggestions were careers like architecture or blueprint design,” she says. “Once he realized that 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,” says Autrey. “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 says. “The class is like a job site with students doing all of the construction.”

Chauncey Kila, Tulsa Tech’s masonry instructor, believes Autrey has two important skills required to achieve success:

“Don’t be fooled by her size,” says Kila. “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 percent 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 says, “and 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 the tornadoes that we’ve seen in Moore and other communities.”

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

“She’s the smart twin,” she jokes. “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 on Tulsa Tech’s 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 918-828-5000, or visit us online at tulsatech.edu.

Updated 12-21-2015

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