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Students in ACE Mentor Program Eye Bright Future

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

By Sylest Lofton, The Real Deal Press

The future is bright, as shown through the ambitions and creative visions of ACE Mentor Program students.

This message was evident to an audience of ACE Mentor Cleveland Program supporters, teachers, mentors, and family members who gathered on May 9th at the annual ACE Banquet to recognize the accomplishments of the 2018-2019 ACE class.

Throughout the evening banquet attendees learned first hand from ACE students, alumni, mentors, and community leaders about the positive impact the ACE Program has made on youth in the Cleveland community.

The ACE Mentor Program is an after-school mentorship program that introduces high school students to the worlds of architecture, construction, and engineering through mentoring from A/E/C industry professionals. Students work diligently through the school year to prepare a design and construction project in response to a program RFP addressing real-world problems.

Currently, the program engages 175 students across 11 schools (10 of which are within the Cleveland Metropolitan School, with one additional site being at Warrensville Heights High School) and is supported by a network of over 130 A/E/C industry professionals. Since it’s inception 11 years ago, the program has awarded a staggering $950,000 in scholarships to high school students.

When speaking to banquet attendees, Eric Gordon, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) CEO, attributed ACE’s true value to the program’s structure which facilitates “demonstrations of learning.” Demonstrations of learning are a teaching strategy increasingly being used within CMSD to highlight and foster student knowledge by giving them a platform to learn applicable skills. “It [demonstrations of learning] says so much more than simple test scores but is also the reason our test scores are continuing to climb,” stated Gordon.

Presentations from this year’s top 2 scoring ACE classes, Warrensville Heights and New Tech East, shined a light on the level of sophistication and skill that demonstrations of learning can bring to student’s education. The conclusion of the evening saw New Tech East’s design and construction for “The Great ACE Bridge,” a pedestrian bridge the students designed to connect the city of Cleveland with the waterfront, win the programs top honors. The judging panel consisted of esteemed professionals Jeff Appelbaum, Thompson Hine LLP; Freddy Collier, Cleveland Planning Director; and Lillian Kuri, Cleveland Foundation.

The ACE Banquet was made possible largely in part to major program supporters University Hospital/Sodexo, Cleveland Foundation, Construction Employers Association and Geis Family Foundation. Congratulations to all ACE students, mentors and teachers on another successful program year! To donate or become involved in the ACE Mentor Program of Cleveland visit:


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