SAN ANTONIO -- Just a few years back, you could probably find Jeremiah Gonzalez walking the grounds at Lanier High School, dreaming of a career in architecture. Well, now that that dream is a reality, he’s back, and giving back to kids that were just like him.

  • Program is designed to give high school kids hands-on experience
  • Was a life changer for San Antonio architect Jeremiah Gonzalez

The ACE Mentor program is designed to give high school kids hands-on experience in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. The mentors are there to answer questions, but also help lead these students as they start making life and career choices.

It was a life changer for San Antonio architect Jeremiah Gonzalez, who went through the program while attending Lanier, and now he's hoping he can change someone else's life.

“I get to see this next group of kids that, you know, were in the same neighborhood as me, go on and hopefully become a success or a productive member of society," said Gonzalez.

He can relate to the students at Lanier--because he was one of them just six years ago--admittedly undecided on what he wanted to pursue in college, despite a successful academic career in high school.

“My senior year, I thought I really wanted to do engineering," said Gonzalez. "But I went to a couple of the ACE meetings, really got to learn about what architecture was, cause I had zero idea, I thought it was drawings, you know, but it was so, so much more. I found my love for architecture through that."

The students he mentors now look up to him, and not just because he's a successful architect.

“Not only is he passionate about what we might be passionate about, but he also has that Lanier pride that doesn’t go away," said junior Hector Martinez.

The San Antonio version of the program has blossomed, with dozens of companies taking part and donating, and hundreds of students from numerous area schools participating. Throw in nearly $50,000 in scholarship money to local students and you can see why kids are thrilled to be involved.

“I’ve been interested in architecture since fifth or sixth grade. I’ve just always been intrigued of drawing, and now that I’m introduced into this ACE program, it’s just a big opportunity for me," said Martinez.

Senior Adrian Uribe agreed: “I’ve been here four years, and I feel like the thing that impacted me the most, that made me want to make this decision was the different pathways that I could pursue," he said

It’s exactly what the program is meant to offer, and is something that Gonzalez knew he wanted to be part of for a long time.

"This was always the plan. To come back and pay it forward," said Gonzalez.