High Schoolers’ Environmental Plan Takes the Prize

High Schoolers’ Environmental Plan Takes the Prize

EASTON — St. Michaels High School students designed an environmental plan in addressing pollution and erosion at Easton Point and carried home a shiny gold trophy for their efforts on March 5 at the ACE Mentor Program of Maryland’s Eastern Shore 15th annual awards and scholarships ceremony.

About 150 students, parents, ACE mentors and local professionals attended the ceremony held at the Elks Lodge.

The students’ plan involved planting a living shoreline at Easton Point to filter out run-off water polluted with harsh industrial chemicals like magnesium and mercury. Aside from added vegetation, an amphitheater, dog park, boardwalk and parking lot were also proposed.

“Today Easton Point is pretty messed up,” said junior Austin Bryan. “I’m pretty sure the Tred Avon is pure poison at this point.”

Junior Hollis Luethy, in charge of the project’s water flow analysis, said he created a vector map for rainwater flow across Easton Point to determine the major paths that water would travel.

“We directed our focus to areas of the coast that would require more resources to combat the run-off pollution and effects of erosion of Easton Point’s coast and the Tred Avon River in general.”

The total cost of the project came to about $1.7 million.

Students celebrating their victory were Caroline Bentz, Phoenix Browning, Austin Bryan, Cooper Gowe, Hollis Luethy, Sutton Mesco, Amelia Nikkischer, Patrick Papineau and Andre Setter.

The students are all part of ACE, a mentor program helping students learn about career opportunities in architecture, construction management and engineering. It also provides mentoring and scholarships for those interested in pursuing those fields.

This year, the program gave away $24,000 in scholarships.

Since its start, ACE Eastern Shore has awarded almost $160,550 in scholarships to students intending to study industry-related fields in college or entering a skilled craft training program.

Since its beginnings, ACE Eastern Shore has had 437 students, 126 mentors and nine high schools. Ninety-two percent of ACE graduates enroll in higher education, and two thirds enter majors linked to the design and construction industry.

Across the country, the program has awarded $20 million in scholarships in 25 years, according to its founder, Dr. Charles Thornton.

Thornton thought the night was fantastic and said, in mentoring the winning St. Michaels team, “at the first meeting, they’re not sure what it’s all about. At the second meeting, the lights come on, and at the third meeting, the lights really come on.”

Thornton figured the team’s humor while presenting resulted in their victory.

Easton High School students also led a presentation on Easton Point and proposed a park with an observation tower, pavilion, playground, boardwalk and multiple recreational facilities for the community to enjoy.

After consulting with design and construction professionals in the community, the project’s total cost came to about $11.5 million and would take an estimated 14 work weeks.

Finally, Sts. Peter and Paul students proposed a new residential apartment space at the old industrial Brookletts building on 404 Brookletts Ave. in Easton.

The team proposed scrapping the windows and paint and relocating the exterior escape stairs to inside of the building for enhanced curb appeal. They presented three different floor plans; a studio for low-income residents, a loft and also a two-bedroom.

Each space would have an open floor plan and come fully furnished with kitchen and dining space as well. The roof top would be covered with solar panels, and a garden space would “provide color for an otherwise industrial, drab space.”

The project’s total estimated cost was $5.5 million.

“I enjoy being a mentor because I want to share my excitement for the construction industry with everyone around me so they can enjoy it just as much as I can,” said ACE Mentor Ben Hallett of Gipe Associates, Inc.

During the ceremony, ACE scholarships were presented to Talbot sophomores Luke Adelman, Phoenix Browning, Andrew Matsche, Tristyn Mosslih and Gabriel Pantusa.

ACE scholarships were presented to Talbot County juniors Austin Bryan, Didier Exantus, Madelyn Johnson, Stephan Luethy, Joseph Myers, Josh Newmier, Akshay Patel, William Rust, John Stinson and Corey Wazniak.

High school seniors receiving ACE scholarships included Jeremy Dickinson, Keely Hanes, Alexander Matsche, Amelia Nikkischer, Reese Radaskiewicz, Natalie Ross and Matthew Wetherbee.

Austin Bryan also was awarded the Charles Thornton Leadership Incentive, and Keely Hanes was awarded the Named Scholarship.

“No one can do this alone, it’s really the team that’s most important to me, seeing them succeed is just as important as succeeding in general,” Bryan said.

The Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc. (DBF)/ACE Gerald Friedel Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Matthew Wetherbee.

The scholarship is given in memory of DBF co-founder Jerry Friedel and is a joint effort by DBF and ACE Mentor Program to ensure Jerry Friedel’s legacy of supporting tomorrow’s industry professionals continues.

Certificates of achievement were awarded to Rachel Andrew, Caroline Bentz, Preston Evans, Harrison Fike, Cooper Gowe, Sutton Mesko, Patrick Papineau, AnnMarie Potthast and Zachary Spofford.

Finally, the program received two citations in recognition of its 15th year; one from Gov. Larry Hogan and another from State Sen. Addie Eckardt.