Bartow High offers architecture, construction mentorship program

By Stephanie Claytor, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, April 14, 2017

Bartow High School is known as the Home of the Champions.  Lately, it’s become more than an athletic powerhouse.

  • Bartow High offers architecture, construction mentorship program
  • Students to learn about architecture, construction, engineering
  • Students to find solutions for real life problems

It’s also fueling the minds of our future architects, engineers, and construction workers through its ACE mentor program.  

“The number of students in the program has grown unbelievably,” said instructor Jimmy Giles. “And now we’ve got probably twice as many students as mentors than we need. So we’re really desperately looking for other businesses within in our area that would be interested in coming to help us as mentors.”

During the mentoring program, the students work on figuring out solutions to real life problems. This year, they’re coming up with plans for how to best renovate the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Bartow. 

Andrew Wilson is one of the participants. Before joining, he said he’d skip school. Now, he’s staying after class voluntarily.

“It really has bettered my life. I’m doing a whole lot better. I’m not getting into trouble. I’m going to all of my classes, passing all of my classes,” said Andrew Wilson.

He’s been working on his project in a group with Lionel Zuloaga, who moved here from Cuba four years ago. Lionel’s teachers said the program has not only taught him about architecture, but also helped him learn English.

“I have to talk to a lot of people like a crowd, so I’m getting more confidence,” Lionel Zuloaga explained.  

The students meet once a week for 16 weeks, developing their proposals. They also go on college visits, and work alongside mentors in the industry.

For the mentors, it’s a chance to fill the growing number of vacancies.

“The mentors, they’re coming in because they either own businesses or work for businesses that are having a hard time finding youth, young adults that are wanting to go into the construction field,“ Giles explained.

The students will show off their presentations during a banquet set for April 18. The students are also competing for $17,500 in scholarships.

Giles said some are also offered paid internships.

For more information, contact Jimmy Giles, (863)534-7400 or james.giles@polk-fl.net or Brian Brogen, brianb@southeasternconst.com.​