Greetings from Tracy Pulla. I came in to talk to the principal about what is happening in the ACE Mentor program that myself and 10 other students from McKee High School started on October 9, 2009. We went to two meetings. The next one will be on November 23rd. A meeting occurs every two weeks.
So far, we have had an opportunity to split up into teams and exchange introductions. We went to Studio 16, which is a firm of one of the mentors on Staten Island. They showed us a number of buildings on Staten Island that they were responsible for designing and building.
What is exciting is the fact that we are working on a project. They are telling us to make a building. They are purposely pushing our minds to think as to how flexible we can be in addressing a need. The sky is the limit. They are not giving us any facts. Our minds are able to explore all the options. Our thoughts and creative input is valued. The project concerns a well known area of Staten Island that is next to South Beach. It's a pretty big strip of land. It used to be an arcade years ago. The goal is for us, the ACE mentors, to design a community center in an economically depressed neighborhood. The objective is for teenagers to have a place to stay out of trouble.
A big challenge is putting all of the ideas into one productive output. That is going to be hard. We all are committed about our ideas. There are restrictions that we all have to follow. In fact, the architects seem to take delight in the fact that they will be able to tell us what the restrictions are after we have designed the buildings. The idea is to work together to make the design a reality. Some of the students in the ACE Mentor program have already visited the area, taken
The ACE Mentor program is a great opportunity. It is more than what I hoped. I do a lot of things but this opportunity allows me to see the connection between Mr. Pane's architecture class and the real world. We feel empowered because we are able to discuss with professionals, using the language used in the businesses of architecture and construction. We also will be exposed to appreciating and analyzing classic structures in New York City such as the Guggenheim Museum.