Teen architects in Porterville gained real world experience

VISALIA, California

Creating buildings like this model performance hall is something upcoming juniors at Harmony Magnet Academy of Engineering in Porterville say they've always been interested in, but never imagined they could do so soon.

Doug Murdock says until now he never understood why it took architects one or two years to design a building -- students could create in the classroom in a couple of months.

Six students spent nearly 20 hours a week participating in a summer internship at Mangini and Associates in Visalia. They designed school buildings and used the latest technology to take a concept from blueprints through engineering and construction.

Raymond Almando says the hands on experience working with professional architects did more than prepare him for college -- it was a prep course for the working world.

Organizers say this is an attempt to expose students to different career paths even before they get to college. They hope professionals in other industries follow their lead.

Students from Harmony Magnet are among 53-thousand children with the National Academy Foundation ... involved in college prep programs this summer. Next summer, Valley students will share their projects before a national audience in San Francisco.

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