Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Alex Munoz


Holy Spirit Senior Finds Passion In Metalworking

By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published May 9, 2013

ATLANTA—When Holy Spirit Prep School senior Alex Munoz was doing a school project in eighth grade, he came across a video of copper being cast, a process by which a liquid material is usually poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify.

“Somehow I ended up running across this video on YouTube of copper being cast,” he recalled. “Something about that video struck me and I just thought it was amazing.”

Munoz was so fascinated that he ended up building his own foundry to further explore his unique passion for metalworking. He now casts aluminum, copper and iron, which are progressively more difficult as each metal requires a different melting temperature.

He said he enjoys creating practical things and has cast an incense holder for a friend, a license plate cover for his car and support brackets for a closet rod at his house, among many other items.

This fall, Munoz will enter the Georgia Institute of Technology and plans to continue exploring his passion by studying material science and engineering. He knows hard work lies ahead of him, but he is eager to face the challenge.

“I’ve heard a lot about Georgia Tech and how much of a challenge it can be,” he said. “So it’s kind of apprehension but at the same time excitement.”

The middle of five children of Alex and Maria Munoz, with two older sisters and two younger sisters, Munoz has a good example of hard work in his family. Munoz’s father owns his own management consulting company, and his mother currently works in education with plans to open her own tutoring company next year. The family attends the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.

He has also been surrounded by effective teachers and students at Holy Spirit. He named Matthew Reger, a science teacher, as someone who has had an influence on his education at the Atlanta independent Catholic school.

“He knows how to teach the material and has a real passion for it,” Munoz said, adding that he often goes to Reger with questions outside of class about projects and labs he is working on in his spare time.

“I’ve had some random questions that the Internet can’t answer … so I’ll talk to him,” he said.

High school has been a time of learning and exploring for Munoz, and he encourages students entering high school to focus on being themselves and finding their passions and what interests them. A student shouldn’t be overly concerned with what people think of them but rather more concerned with expanding their knowledge of themselves and the school subject material, he said.

As Munoz looks ahead, he is preparing himself for the challenges that lie before him.

“I can succeed. It will take a lot of hard work for sure, but I think as long as I apply myself I have the capabilities to succeed in that setting,” he said.

Holy Spirit faculty and administrators see something unusual in the way he attacks problems and finds solutions. Thomas Curtin, principal of Holy Spirit Upper School, said he expects the unexpected from this student.

“Alex has such a naturally inquisitive mind. He always wants to know how things work and why they work that way. But the more impressive thing about Alex is the way he follows through, conducting his own experiments, building things himself, and inviting others to join him. I believe some of the great American inventors were probably a bit like Alex, and I won’t be surprised if his life produces similarly ingenious results,” Curtin said.