Engineering magnet students win national competition
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A group of award-winning South Florida students who are part of an engineering magnet program are using their smarts to build the future.
Twenty-three Miami Coral Park Senior High School students created a parking garage prototype located in Mary Brickell Village. The innovative, mock-up garage dubbed "Cielo Vista" has a drive-in theater, a restaurant, green areas for a picnic, a car wash, convenience store, gas station, daycare, police substation, hair and nail salon and a Miami Heat fan gear store. "I think people would be glad there would be something like this," said sophomore Jesslyn Zamora. "They have practically everything here."
The location has been scouted, the project priced and the garage designed and rendered to scale-- all but ready to be built.
The group of students are part of the high school's engineering robotics magnet program, and they are national champions. "It's been amazing, we had a great experience," said sophomore Aidin Alejo. "I'm not only proud of the team, I'm proud of the teachers."
The students competed against 39 teams across the country in the Architecture Construction and Engineering Mentor Industry Round Table National Championship in Washington, D.C. and were judged by industry professionals.
Aside from earning the coveted award, completing the project offered insight into a career a textbook just cannot provide. "We got to see what the field we want to go into takes, we actually got kind of like a firsthand work there. It's amazing to see that when you're a sophomore," said Alejo.
"This experience gives them what it's really about," said Charlie Delahoz, a drafting and construction teacher at Miami Coral Park Senior High School and the Engineering Magnet Program. "Turner coming in, and they're dealing with professionals every week. They're going to the sites. They're going to the firms. They're seeing the process, the in-depth stuff I as a teacher cannot provide."
Turner Construction employees mentored the team and exposed them to all facets of the profession. "They gotta do research, they gotta do drawings, they gotta do presentations, it's the whole-- it's what they do in industry," said Delahoz.
Hours were spent after school meeting with Turner employees, brainstorming and drawing. "They grabbed that experience and put into place and go to Washington and win a national championship. That's a big reward for us," said Ruiz Riquezes of Turner Construction.
If the students did not know what career path to take before, now they do. "First, I wanted to do architecture," said Zamora. "Now that I've finished, I want to do the engineering side of it."
"We got to experience what a person in college or even working already can do," said Alejo.
In the near future, the students are hoping to win next year's competition. In a few years, this experience will offer another reward: internships and post-college jobs.
If your student is interested in the magnet program, they must have a 3.0 minimum GPA and complete Honors Algebra and Honors Earth Space Science in middle school.
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