Congratulations to Trevor Bickford, Whitney Brown, Melanie Kessler, Jonathan (Jonny) Mangini, and Kim Myers! Our selection committee awarded scholarships to these wallers, each of whom met a very tight deadline to apply for the 2021 Stone Trust Entry-Level Professional Pathway Scholarship. A decision is pending for a sixth applicant, from whom we sought additional information. Thanks very much to each of you for providing such a complete and thoughtful picture of the path that brought you to earning a living as a dry stone waller. We look forward to sharing your stories with friends of the Stone Trust as time goes on.
To date, each of the three women and two men have received partial awards to support next steps. Some people are ready to prove their knowledge and skill on a Dry Stone Walling Association certification test in May or September. Trevor will test for Level 1 Initial Certification on May 17. Whitney intends to test for Level 2 Professional Certification in September. Melanie and Jonny burnished their ability to build a solid, vertical cheekend tied properly into a freestanding wall at April’s four-day Walling Skills Intensive. They are ready to apply what they learned to building at least ten more wall ends before they attempt the extremely challenging Level 2 test. Kim plans to pass the Level 1 test in the fall. Certification plays a key role in defining a professional pathway, providing a standard for evaluating wallers’ proficiency and quality. Certification tells employers and clients what a waller can do. Level 2 Professional and Instructor Certification allow wallers to teach others what they know. No teachers, no training in dry stone walling!
Next steps for awardees include meeting with members of the Stone Trust Scholarship Selection Committee to help optimize each professional pathway. Committee members Dan Morales-Walsh, Michael Murphy, Daniel Peterson, Amy-Louise Pfeffer, and Pete Ryder recognize the challenge applicants faced in envisioning a timeline that includes:
- training via classes,
- practicing both alone and with other more highly experienced wallers,
- and mentoring to provide knowledge and confidence in applying the craft and developing business acumen.
Every waller who has accomplished Professional certification and beyond recognizes the essential role of mentoring in their achievement. Committee members want to listen carefully and provide guidance to support progress towards individual goals. The scholarship acts as a catalyst for the Stone Trust to accomplish the long-held goal of establishing a mentoring program.
We are working to build the tools to help diverse people from across the continent become Master Craftsmen, the best way to preserve the art and craft of dry stone walling. You can help! Please contact Amy-Louise Pfeffer, Executive Director to find out how: firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-952-8600.