Lindsay students engineer their future

By Jackie Womack


Lindsay- A group of students from Lindsay High School’s Academy of Engineering recently took second place in a design competition held by Internnect and the Tulare County Office of Education.

The contest was for the design of a new Wellness Learning Center for students, to be built behind the new TCOE building on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. The competition is part of the effort to link learning with careers.

“Students are developing and building their employability skills,” said Joy Soares, college and career readiness director with TCOE.

Students Ikoncar Khalsa; Angel Nicole Rocha; Lewis Cha; Desiree Garcia; Joe Isaac Garza; Rebeca Gomez Amaya; Ruben Gomez; Emily Tineo; Raul Velasco Martinez and Andrew Ventura will split $1,200 in prize money while Lindsay High School will receive $1,000.

The Lindsay students’ design was for a 5,491-sq. ft. center that included a welcoming center, health center, greenhouse and exploration and discovery center with a cost of $850,000.

Designing the center was a year-long process for all the students, said Soares. She and four of her colleagues from TCOE were the “clients” who met with students about the project.

They had to take a number of concerns into their designs, Soares said, including health and safety rules as well as engineering codes. They also had to meet milestones, deadlines for meeting those construction design concerns.

The competition drew three teams from Lindsay, Porterville, Orosi and two from Visalia. Harmony Magnet Academy in Porterville won the first place prize of $2,400 for its team, while El Diamante High School in Visalia took third place with $600 for its team.

The contest, which is in its second year, is a part of the partnership between TCOE and Internnect.

Internnect is an internship program created by Gilbert Bareng, partner architect of Mangini Associates.

Bareng, who was born and raised in Porterville, said after he came back from Cal Poly he wanted to share the type of experience he had there.

“We want to create the opportunities that we ourselves didn’t have when we were young,” said Bareng.

The contest judges were 12 representatives of local businesses and organizations including Mangini Associates, Lane Engineering, Seals/Biehle, Family Healthcare Network and the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Bareng said that students learned important ‘soft skills’ like collaboration during the competition to supplement what they were learning in school.

The program is a countywide effort but it could go regional, and that would be the goal, according to Soares.

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