Garcia plans to showcase her skills at the 2023 SPEC Mix Bricklayer 500’s South Texas Regional Series at Best Block in San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 2.
The SPEC Mix Bricklayer 500 is the world’s largest masonry challenge designed to test the speed, skill and stamina of each participant. Competitors have to build the highest 26-foot-long brick wall with as few craftsmanship errors as possible, according to specmix.com
During her senior year at Harlingen High School, Garcia finished second in the organization’s Jr. Bricklayer 500.
“I was first introduced to masonry during my freshman year of high school,” she said. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 halted things until my junior year. My former masonry instructor, (Victor) Santillan, taught me some of the fundamentals. I performed well in the SkillsUSA masonry category during my junior and senior year of high school. That led to a scholarship offer from TSTC Building Construction Technology Program Director (Hector) Rosa when I competed at the college.”
Recently, the Primera resident received a Golden Trowel Award from the Texas Masonry Council.
“I learned about the award from Ashton White, who represents the Texas Masonry Council,” she said. “I met her during my second SkillsUSA state competition in Corpus Christi when I was in high school. She became my inspiration after I found out she is a two-time national champion in the SkillsUSA masonry competition.”
White, the masonry rocks student programs coordinator for the Texas Masonry Council, said Garcia is passionate about her work.
“Victoria is self-driven and I’m glad that she’s still competing,” she said. “I find it fascinating that she and other women are breaking barriers in this male-dominated industry. It’s incredible to see her growth, and that she has won against male students in competitions.”
Garcia, who is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree, said that her first semester has been motivating.
“I’m a hands-on learner and we are learning about the foundation of building construction,” she said. “My favorite hands-on assignment is where I worked with a sawhorse.”
Garcia said her future plans are to establish her own business.
“The knowledge that I gain from my instructors will help me to run my own company one day,” she said. “I’m learning how to build a structure, including understanding building regulations and codes. My education at TSTC has already had an impact on my life. Sometimes it’s hard for me to go home because I love what I’m doing.”
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers in Texas can earn an average annual salary of $64,470, according to onetonline.org. The website projected these positions to grow by 23% in the state through 2030.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Building Construction Technology and a certificate of completion in Building Construction – Craftsman on its Harlingen and Waco campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.