Bartow High Construction Academy Students Finish First in National Competition

Bartow High Construction Academy Students Finish First in National Competition

Photo of Bartow student at construction competition

An ACE always wins big in Vegas.

A team of students from Bartow High’s Academy of Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) traveled to Las Vegas this week for the 2023 International Builders’ Show. The Bartow crew took part in a competition for student chapters of the National Association of Home Builders, and they won first place in the Construction Management event among high schools.

Last fall, the students began developing a working set of plans, job schedule and budget for an upscale two-bedroom house. At the Vegas competition, they presented their work, made a sales pitch and took questions from a panel of judges.

Jimmy Giles, who runs the ACE academy program at Bartow High, said his students faced long odds in Vegas. Many of the other schools had participated in the event multiple times in the past, and were used to competing on the national stage.

“I was just hoping for us to place being that this was our first time to go,” Giles said. “I was speechless when we actually won. This is a very prestigious thing, the schools that win go back on a regular basis, and we caught them off guard — completely off guard. When it was all said and done, the judges told the kids that they were floored by how well they put together and delivered their presentation.”

A huge congratulations to the ACE students from Bartow High and IB Bartow: Gracie Bone, Porter Brown, Simon Durham, Jamie Rullo, Ellison Saunders and Jordan Simpson. Giles said they are the first high school team to win the Construction Management event on a first attempt.

“I’m very proud, my kids worked hard,” he said. “Their presentation was off the chain.”