Fear and Loathing in the Lowcountry!

Bridge failures. Building collapses. Traffic congestion. Fire and brimstone boiling up from the very ground homes are built upon.Hurricane season thrust upon us again for another year with one of the earliest tropical depressions in recent memory. Global warming. Housing cost rising beyond affordability. All newsworthy. All of a major concern.

Lots of challenges, but what of the solutions?

Last night at the presentation banquet for ACE (a student mentoring program with Architects, Contractors and Engineers) outstanding young people from Burke High School, St. Johns High School and Stall High School made presentations of projects that they had designed and worked on over the past school term under the mentorship of amazing professionals from leading companies representing all the three aforementioned tiers of the construction industry. The projects ranged from Burke’s design for a portion of the Charleston LowLine – a linier park planned to be similar to the HighLine park in New York, Stall High School’s beautiful and novel waterfront park and entertainment area for continuing our Lowcountry traditions for destination weddings and entertaining, and St. John’s upgrade and remodel of one of the local high schools to help build community and connection to the school and its students – all designed by high school students under the watchful eyes of licensed architects, contractors and engineers.

Students provided budgets and support materials, PowerPoint slide supports, engineering and architectural plans as well as models and storyboarding along with all the other sundry documentations that come with such ambitious developments.  The projects were well planned with fine attention to details, and served their proposed functions within our extended community amazingly well.  The presentations were complete with every step of the planning and development process for these projects, and the students were articulate, surprisingly at ease for teens presenting to a room of some 100 attendees including a host of local  professionals representing some of the most important related companies and firms in our area as well as other students, family and friends.

None of which comes naturally or without hard work.

I was awed and very proud of the efforts, and want to share that the ACE Mentoring Program, along with select educators from the CTE department of Charleston County Schools working with the program are helping to develop our community’s future through solving real world development problems.  Four of the Senior students also received $1,000.00 scholarships toward their future matriculations!

We so often in this world see many of the problems confronting us and are quick to complain that something must be done, though we ourselves are reticent to offer any real solution.  This group of students, led by their various mentors are felled by no such conventions.  They see opportunity where most see only problems.  They see solutions where most only see frustrations.  They see the future for what it can be, not for what so many of us fear it will be!

We are blessed beyond words to have such fine young people and their mentors and schools in our community working hard on our behalf to improve our corner of the world… and hopefully through the sharing of such efforts beyond the confines of those already in the know, we can all see the bright future that youthful eyes so readily focus on.  I am thankful for all the efforts made to improve the lives of our students, our community and our personal lives by the volunteers with ACE Mentoring and their supporting and contributing companies and firms, and trust that you too will be moved now that you also know of all the good works taking place in our community and country.

Roy Joe Kemp, MBA

Burke High School

PLTW Engineering Instructor

Building Construction Instructor

CTE Department Chair

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