Sixty-six local high school students spent 16 weeks this spring working one-on-one with more than 50 mentors from the local construction, engineering, design and architecture industries as a part of the ACE Mentor Program of Northeast Florida Inc.
The ACE program exposes the students to potential careers in architecture, construction and engineering through a program including such topics as sustainable design, civil engineering and estimating/scheduling and field trips to local construction sites.
The students then use their new knowledge to work closely with their mentors to prepare a final project.
Jacob C. Thurlow, of The Haskell Company, was one of the many mentors this year and the mentor team leader at the A. Philip Randolph Academies of Technology.
“The experience I have had with the ACE Mentor Program has been life-changing. Each year it is great to work with the students and watch them grow during the process. The end-of-the-year presentations allow you to see what the students have learned,” said Thurlow.
This year’s project required the students to prepare a proposal for the design and construction of a single-family home on one of three urban site locations.
The design parameters included that the home was to be between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet; include a living room, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms and three bathrooms; and be designed to correspond with its surrounding elements.
Later in the project, students were thrown a twist when they received owner requirements such as the request for a front porch, a dining room that could seat 10 people, and the use of energy efficient lighting. Sustainable design concepts were also required.
The work culminated in an awards ceremony May 20 at the University of North Florida. At the ceremony, five teams of students presented their projects to construction leaders, including their ACE mentors, and family.
The student teams were judged on the quality of their presentation, as well as the deliverables they provided, including: site plan, floor plan(s), engineering plan, elevation drawing, interior finish selection board, LEED score card, zoning and building code analysis, project schedule and a cost estimate. Teams were also encouraged to provide physical models or renderings.
The ceremony concluded with ACE awarding $17,400 in college scholarships. The 2011 scholarship winners were: $1,500 to William Forsling; $1,250 (each) to Ashantae Bryant, Brice Bursey, Brent Corr, Jason Muniz, Raymond Geisel and Mereno Scott; $1,000 to Charmaine Ervin, Mercelin Etienne and Jon Miller; $800 to Courtland Elias, Amanda Gonzalez and Demagio Mansell; and $500 to Christian Berroa, Russell Kopp, Linda Hayes, Christopher Vickery, Houston Needhman and Jonathan Perkins.
The 2011 scholarships bring the total scholarships awarded by the ACE Mentor Program of Northeast Florida Inc. to more than $61,000 since it began in 2006. The ACE program is currently offered at the A. Philip Randolph Academies of Technology, Orange Park High School and Englewood High School and has plans to expand to additional high schools.