Saints Peter & Paul students take home top ACE trophy

From left to right, mentors Eric Anderson, licensed architect and associate director at the U.S. Green Building Council, and Ben Hallett, mechanical engineer with Gipe Associates, Inc.; Saints Pete & Paul students Josh Sambrano, Shane Evans, Paul Dyer, Kevin Kyle, Billy Rust, Gabe Pantusa and Andrey Perez; and mentor Rebecca Saduk, a civil engineer with Easton Utilities.

EASTON — A team of students from Saints Peter & Paul High School won the 16th annual ACE Mentor program’s Eastern Shore title on Wednesday, March 4, at the Easton Elks Lodge on Dutchman’s Lane.

Celebrating their victory were Josh Sambrano, Shane Evans, Paul Dyer, Kevin Kyle, Billy Rust, Gabe Pantusa and Andrey Perez.

“Our ACE team executed this project with true teamwork,” senior Billy Rust stated in a press release from the school. “We all collaborated ideas in forming a coherent but fun project, and everyone contributed their skills differently and effectively. I’m extremely thankful for both this hardworking team and our inspirational mentors.

They were congratulated by their mentors Eric Anderson, licensed architect and associate director at the U.S. Green Building Council, Ben Hallett, mechanical engineer with Gipe Associates, Inc., and Rebecca Saduk, a civil engineer with Easton Utilities.

“I am very proud to be an ACE mentor to this great group of students,” stated Hallett, who is a Saints Peter & Paul alumnus. “They worked very hard this year and created something that is genuinely a cool concept for the town of Easton.”

ACE is an after-school program that serves grades 9 through 12. It gives students a hands-on introduction to construction, architecture, engineering and all other related careers through mentoring with professionals.

The Sabre team won the competition for their Brookletts Avenue redevelopment project presentation: “Bringing the Outside In.” The project transformed historic grain silos and adjacent buildings into a residential, commercial and conservation hub for the Easton community, according to the release.

The three competitors were the projects: “Sports Complex for Port Street” and “Housing for Port Street” both St. Michaels teams, and Easton High School’s “Windmill Branch Stream Restoration.”

ACE of Maryland’s Eastern Shore includes students from Talbot and Wicomico counties and was founded in part by Talbot County resident and structural engineer Charles Thornton of Charles H. Thornton & Co.

Tom Ellis, director of skilled trades at Chesapeake College, was the keynote speaker for the event.

High school students who imagine designing or building schools, stadiums, concert halls, bridges, tunnels, shopping malls, parks and the like signed up for the ACE program last September.

They met every week, put teams together, chose projects, assigned parts, and then planned, budgeted and designed their projects.

The professionals showed students where and how they work, the skills needed for their jobs and some of their projects in progress. They also gave advice on the students’ projects.

The students worked with important architectural, construction and engineering concepts while preserving the iconic characteristics of the site and the agrarian culture of Easton and the Eastern Shore.

Ida Heelan, the program treasurer, said this year’s scholarships totaled $28,600. Local businesses, organizations and agencies donated to make the scholarships possible.

Corey Wazniak, of Easton High School, was awarded the DBF Jerry Friedel Memorial scholarship of $2,000.

Austin Bryan, of St. Michaels High School, received the Easton Utilities scholarship of $2,500.

The rest of the scholarship money was distributed among the 29 participants. Eight freshmen also received certificates of achievement, Heelan said.

The projects may be eligible for a national ACE competition later this year. For more information, visit www.acementor.org.

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