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ACE Mentor program students strut their stuff at Annual Awards banquet

19th June 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Walt Pierce
Contributing Writer

McDonogh 35 and DeLaSalle High School students participating in the ACE Mentor Program showed off their work at their recent year-end awards banquet. The ACE (architecture, construction, engineering) Mentor Program of New Orleans pairs professionals in those disciplines with high school students interested in those fields. The students and their mentors spend the school year choosing and designing a project, usually a construction project involving their school.

In the case of McDonogh 35 the ACE students came up with the idea of repurposing an open courtyard at their new campus. At the banquet the students used a power point presentation as well as actual models to show their parents and professionals in attendance what they had designed. With their plans complete and if money can be raised, the school’s plain open courtyard can now be transformed into a more useful space with benches for a park-like study area, a social gathering spot just off the cafeteria as well as a small covered performance stage in the middle.

Over at DeLaSalle High School the ACE students there designed a new building for their campus to serve as the center for a culinary arts program. Their plans included a teaching kitchen and classrooms, a restaurant with a full restaurant kitchen, a bar, a double height main dining room, a private courtyard dining area and a public street side dining area. The restaurant spaces were also designed to function as a rentable event space.

During the awards banquet several students from each school were announced as winners of $1,000 scholarships. They were Johann-Paul James and Conrad Wrye from DeLaSalle along with Brandon Holmes, Titiyana Thomas, and Ryan Samuels from McDonogh 35. University of New Orleans President, Dr. John Nicklow, was the keynote speaker at the awards dinner.

The ACE mentoring program wants to expand beyond the two schools it has been in for the last few years. To that end ACE Mentor Program of New Orleans Board Chairman, Christian Generes, says ACE needs more professionals to step up and become mentors to students. He adds, “The more we as professionals in architecture, construction and engineering help guide interested high school students learn these disciplines, the more our professions will gain quality people. And we would very much like to see more African-American professionals become mentors.” Generes says if you’re interested in becoming a mentor or would like help the ACE program with a donation of much needed funds please contact him via email at

This article originally published in the June 19, 2017 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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