Central Catholic Students Participate in Ace Mentor Program
Five Central Catholic High School interns have been participating in the ACE Mentor program this semester. Founded in 1994, ACE stands for Architecture, Construction and Engineering. ACE is a mentoring for high school students who are considering pursuing careers in design and construction. For the past five years, ACE has offered a semester-long after-school program for Portland area high school students who are interested in learning about career opportunities in Architecture, Construction, Engineering, and related construction professions. It’s now the construction industry's fastest growing high school mentoring program with over 31,000 students participating.
This year’s participants include seniors Molitauoleava “Moli” Langi and Frank Ngo along with juniors Justin Klein, Leighton Murphy, and Qiaohao “George” Zhong. By working with real professionals in real work environments, these ACE students received an invaluable hands-on education — they learned to understand the day-to-day workings of a business by living it, experiencing it, not merely reading about it. ACE is an inspired partnership between a variety of industry professionals that include:
College & University Representatives
Each of the participants have developed skills and had experiences that will help shape their future. Next year Justin, Leighton, and George are considering returning to the ACE Mentor program.
Frank Ngo is the recipient of a $4,000 ACE Scholarship. He plans on attending Oregon State University where he will major in mechanical engineering. Eventually, he would like to study aerospace engineering. Frank’s team designed a visitors’ center. The team worked together on the design, construction, style, and the functionality of their assigned project. Frank worked on the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plan for the visitors’ center. He especially liked the hands-on experience and working with students from other schools. Frank notes, “I highly recommend this experience for any student interested in the fields of architecture, construction, or engineering. The experience brings to life those concepts taught in Computer Aided Drafting and Intro to Engineering. I highly recommend the two hour a week commitment. We met at various offices, met many inspirational experts, and food was provided at each of our meetings.”
Moli Langi’s mentor, Justin Hunter, stated, “Moli has been recognized as an active and inquisitive participant in the ACE Mentor Program. From the first session he has shown a strong desire to explore all the learning opportunities provided to him. Moli has stood out in his effort with ACE several times. He has worked hard to stay in communication with his mentors, and he has done extra work outside of the ACE requirements.” Most notably he was selected to participate as an ACE “student juror” for the Portland Daily Journal of Commerce's annual design awards selection because of his ability to communicate his ideas and show a discerning nature with regards to the built environment. As a result of being a team member on the Yoga Studio Project, Moli has expressed a strong desire to pursue a degree in civil engineering or maybe even architecture. He plans to attend college and work in the industry after he graduates. Again and again, he and his mother express the value and impact of the ACE program on his decisions about his future studies and occupation.
Moli stated, “The most significant A/E/C achievement for me occurred when I was selected to be the only student of the ACE Mentor program to be a judge in the Daily Journal of Commerce Top Projects competition. I had to grade project plans on a scale of 1 to 7 in multiple categories, such as: design, budget, functionality, and more. This was a lengthy process because I was given a very large stack of papers filled with the project plans and renovations of the many companies and industries. To assess their work, I had to focus on the information that they provided and judge solely on my reactions. This was a great honor because I was recommended by my ACE mentor, Justin Hunt, to serve as a juror because he trusted my skills abilities and thought I fit the description of the type of student judge the ACE program was seeking.”
“The main thing that I have learned about myself through this last season of ACE is that I am actually a really good leader with both my peers and adults as well. I have noticed this through the positive interactions that I have experienced with team members and the mentors. Prior to joining the program I was a soft spoken person and I believed that engineers and architects did not have to communicate much, and I thought I could be successful in this field without being pushed out of my comfort zone. But the ACE Mentor program has quickly taught me the importance of constant and healthy communication with the team. I learned that if there is a minor misunderstanding at any level due to lack of communication between one person and the other it can very well lead to a disaster. I quickly inserted myself into every group conversation and tried to at least have my hand in every decision that we made as a group. I am now a vocal leader in my group and I am more confident in sharing my knowledge with others.”