Building a Future in Construction for Local L.A. Students

Contributor: Swinerton Blogger   |   March 30, 2016   |   Image Gallery »
Building a Future in Construction for Local L.A. Students

To kick-off the 2016 year, Swinerton Builders Orange County and Los Angeles (OCLA) took part in the annual ACE All Schools Day event. The ACE Mentor Program teaches and inspires high school students to pursue careers in architecture, construction, and engineering. The All Schools Day event is a friendly design and construction competition between schools to see who can build the best structure from a given set of instructions. The OCLA team regularly sponsors the event, making it their major contribution each year. At the event, the team provided all the materials for students, the testing station, and breakfast and lunch. They also comprised the majority of volunteers that completed event set up and tear down. The room was packed with over 180 students from 15 schools spread around the Los Angeles area. Over 70 teachers and volunteers showed up as well, taking time out of a busy holiday weekend to show their support.

“It’s an amazing event,” said Swinerton Project Manager Stephanie Jakus. “The students, faculty, and mentors look forward to it every year. It’s a really great chance for the students to see that they are part of a bigger organization, and not just a small club at school.”

This year’s event was held on campus at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), who has graciously donated the venue for many years. Swinerton volunteers came at 7:00 a.m. to set up, students arrived an hour later, and the event kicked-off at 9:30 a.m. after attendees enjoyed breakfast. Following an introduction from SCI-Arc, the students were given an overview of a problem to be solved. This year, they were tasked with building a tower type structure. It had a weight put through the middle at the top, which would be strength-tested to see how much weight it could hold before breaking. The OCLA team built and brought a mock-up, allowing students to see what they were aiming for.

The teams were given two hours to build, with the sense of urgency increasing every minute. During lunch break for the teams,
Swinerton mentors evaluated all of the different towers. Towards the end of lunch, OCLA team members started testing each tower until
it broke. Everyone enjoyed seeing the students’ excited reactions as their towers reached the breaking point. Before announcing the winners, students got the chance to go up front and talk about their team. They spoke about how they thought they would do, what they 
enjoyed most, and lessons learned from the experiment. The winners were then brought forward and awarded certificates for 
their accomplishments.

“What another great event,” said Swinerton Project Manager Eddie Einem. “The best thing about the day is watching such a great event come to together.” 

- By Mark Rafferty, Stephanie Jakus & Eddie Einem