June 2, 2021

Mesa College Architecture Program Helps Young High School Student Move Toward His Dream

By Ian and Felice Kay

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It’s not common that a 13-year-old makes a declaration about his future career. In the case of Kevin Gonzalez, that’s exactly what happened. 


As a 9th grader at Gompers Preparatory Academy, Kevin was walking home after school and upon entering the gates of El Rey Trailer Plaza where he lives, he wondered, “Why do I live in such a poor community, trailer homes torn apart, cracks in the streets? Why can’t everyone have a nice place to live? That was the moment I realized my mission is to design affordable homes for everyone.”


The next day, Kevin approached his teacher/mentor at Gompers Preparatory Academy, Sean Bentz, and asked if there was somewhere he could enroll in architecture courses while in high school.  Sean contacted Ian Kay, then Chairperson of the Architecture and Environmental Design Department at Mesa College.  Ian arranged for Kevin to enroll in one course, Materials of Construction in the Summer of 2020.  After entering 10th grade, Kevin took two more courses in the Fall of 2020, Revit and Introduction to Architecture.  In the Spring of 2021, he took two courses; AutoCAD and Construction Plan Reading. 


Sean Bentz was also helping Kevin apply to a well-known college preparatory high school on the east coast, Deerfield Academy.  Kevin was recently accepted with a full three-year scholarship and will start classes in September 2021.  Deerfield Academy, in addition to regular high school coursework, offers an Architecture Program within the curriculum. 


Kevin GonzalesAnother of Kevin's goals, before leaving in September, was to spend time in an architect's office.  Ian Kay contacted local architect, Mel McGee, who previously taught as an adjunct at Mesa College and is currently on the Architecture Program Advisory Committee. Over the years, Mel has hired many of Mesa’s architecture students to work in his firm.  Kevin is now an intern in Mel’s office two days a week until he leaves for Deerfield.


Helping a young person realize their dreams is the goal of every great teacher.  Sometimes, it takes a village.


Learn about Mesa College’s Architecture program

Learn about Dual Enrollment and High School Resources.

Tags: Mel McGee, Kevin Gonzalez, Architecture, Deerfield Academy, Faculty