Trenton’s bright young scholars brought their “A” games on Tuesday, January 31, during Princeton ArcPrep Portfolio Day. Several eager Trenton Central High School students were prepared with 3D printed prototypes and detailed binders showcasing their projects as they presented on the ground floor of Princeton University’s School of Architecture.

I saw the incredible portfolios assembled as part of this semester-long course introducing Trenton Central High School students to architecture, urbanism, and integrated design studio practices.

Trenton Central High School Senior Kathy Ovalle expressed excitement about pursuing a career in architecture. Having been accepted to two prominent schools, Ovalle hopes to decide soon which school to attend. “I’ve been debating whether to go to NJIT or Temple University,” said Ovalle, referencing the two schools that accepted her.

Kathy Ovalle, Trenton Central High School Senior, presents a unique design concept featuring a meditation room and gymnasium during Princeton ArcPrep Portfolio Day on January 31, 2023.
Chevanique Tulloch’s “Bubbled Peace Pavillion” is for students needing a sanctuary, a place to relax, catch up with friends, and enjoy a peaceful space.

When asked how Princeton ArcPrep played a role in her passion for architecture, Ovalle noted, “It helped me realize the process of becoming an architect; the challenges it could have…and I’m willing to accept those challenges. Life is about challenges.”

The students focused on projects that fused their passions with various design elements. Student participants included: Edra Auceda, electrical engineering; Jheefrey Beza-Martinez, Anime; Mike Castro, sports; Daren Creque, Airsoft Arena; Angel Diaz Pineda, Soccer Museum; Genesis Castaneda Duarte, Art gallery; Kathy Ovalle, Women Wellness/Fitness center; Abigail Pena, Music Performance/Rehearsal; Gaby Rodriguez, Volleyball; and Chevanique Tulloch, Bubbled Peace Pavillion.

Princeton University School of Architecture’s Dean Ponce de Leon and Architectural Design Fellow Jorge Gonzalez introduce Trenton High School students to the discipline of architecture through an immersive, semester-long course on architecture, urbanism, and design. ArcPrep’s studio instruction is unique in that it operates not as an extra-curricular activity but as an embedded program within the high school curriculum and the daily schedule of participating students.

Gabby Rodriguez’s “The Heart of Mintonette Pavillion” features a safe space for scholars, student volunteers, and volleyball enthusiasts, including kids willing to learn the sport.

Greater Trenton, an independent 501(c)(3) that leverages private funding and a network of collaborative relationships to catalyze economic revitalization efforts in New Jersey’s Capital City, utilized funds from PNC Bank Foundation, which granted $50,000 last year, and an additional $50,000 this year, to support Trenton Public Education Foundation’s initiatives to prepare Trenton Central High School students for science-, technology-, engineering-, and mathematics-focused occupations.

In addition to supporting the Princeton ArcPrep Program, a partnership between Princeton University School of Architecture and Trenton Central High School, the funding also supports STEM Academy’s Black Seal Certification program, which helps create economic opportunities by promoting advanced career possibilities for Trenton’s youth.

We applaud all the students who presented during Princeton ArcPrep Portfolio Day. They each decided to pursue the building blocks of a brighter future. The skills, knowledge, and awareness they gain will help propel them into careers in architecture and beyond.

Well done!


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