A Meeting With A 4th Grader

Recently Ryan, a fourth grader from Wagon Wheel Elementary School in the Capistrano Unified School District, came to visit PJHM for a school project. The student project, called Cultural Quest is designed to “expand the student’s horizons.” It was my pleasure to show Ryan and his mother around the office and have a chance to give back to a student, as many architects were willing to help me out when I was a student.

Ryan came prepared with some great questions for our architects and we did our best to answer. He reminded me of myself as a young architect… dreaming of making Lego models into a career. Every day we run though our daily tasks of phasing plans, opening schedules and wall details, so it was refreshing to take a step back and talk shop with a 9-year-old. To see him wide eyed in the office reminded me of the reasons why I wanted to become an architect when I grew up.

A lot of our staff contributed to the conversation. James, being a professor at Woodbury University, was a great resource to speak with Ryan. James was able to dazzle him with three-dimensional models in Revit, along with life like renderings and walk-throughs.

Ken, our fearless leader, showed Ryan the roots of our profession. Explaining the parallel ruler, adjustable triangle and architectural scale. Ken leads the way during the schematic design phases with sketches to be translated into CAD, Vectorworks and Revit, and was able to amaze Ryan with the magical electric eraser and drafting brush.

It was great for Jeffery to speak with Ryan about his college experience at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Jeffery spoke of his high school drafting classes, college internships and joining the team here at PJHM.

Allie dug into our PJHM archives to provide Ryan with architectural plans from his own elementary school, Wagon Wheel, one of the many projects PJHM has designed for the Capistrano Unified School District. We sent Ryan off with full size site and floor plans, hoping that this assist him with his upcoming presentation.

We finally were able to show Ryan where all the stress is relieved…on the Ping-Pong table. He learned that on any given lunch hour, there is a line up of talented players with a lot of topspin. He was intrigued hearing us describe our office activities such as Monday Run Day, Office Yoga and Ted Talk Tuesday, with the hopes we can recruit him in the future.

His mother Maureen sent us an email the following day:

Both Ryan and I sure appreciate everything you and your colleagues did for him. When we got in the car after the meeting, I asked Ryan what rating he would give it on a scale of 1-10; he said ‘That was a 9!’ A great big smile came across his face when he said that. And I would have to agree. Everyone at PJHM was so accommodating and helpful; it was such a delight to see an aspect of the work force I’ve never seen before. Thanks again for all of your help!”

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