Leaders of the OPCMIA recently visited Lindale Middle School in Linthicum Heights, Maryland, to spread holiday cheer and interest the students in possible careers in the plastering and cement mason crafts.

General President Daniel E. Stepano, General Secretary-Treasurer Kevin D. Sexton, Executive Vice-President Todd A. Lair, Vice President Doug Taylor, Vice President Michael Hubler, and OPCMIA office manager Matt Hurd attended a class in the school’s vaunted STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.

General President Stepano and other officials led a demonstration of the virtual reality technology used by OPCMIA’s state-of-the-art apprenticeship and training programs, learning how to spray fireproofing material.

“This is part of the community outreach effort we started last year,” General President Stepano said. “We want to let students know who we are and what we do for a living, and what opportunities we provide to young adults when they come out of school.”

Seventh-grader Ayanna Etienne was impressed. “I’ve never done VR before and I thought it was really cool because it just feels real,” she said.

Jadan DeVaughn, also in the seventh grade, added, “It’s an interesting and fun way to learn about fireproofing and building, and you can also help kids [have an idea about] what career they want to have when they get older. It’s educational but fun too.”

John Nash, principal of Lindale Middle School, noted the value of active learning for the students. “To get them up and moving around and then applying what they’re learning within the classroom setting to the real world is just bringing more relevance … and it helps to engage them,” he said.

As part of the classroom visit, the students made beautiful ornaments, which were recently hung on the OPCMIA’s Christmas Tree in its Columbia, Md. Headquarters, serving as a reminder of what the holiday spirit is all about.

Please watch the video to see more about OPCMIA’s commitment to our communities.