CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – When Millie Peacock was in middle school, she was hooked on Minecraft. “I built houses and houses for days on end,” she remembers. She was so immersed in the virtual building game that her mom, Lyn, began looking for a high school that offered architecture. That search brought Millie to the Katonah-Lewisboro School District where she is now a junior and enrolled in Architecture 3.

Building on the strong foundation that John Jay’s architecture program provides, Peacock will be participating in UCLA’s Jumpstart Summer Institute—an architecture and design program that is typically limited to high school graduates. She was accepted to the competitive program on the strength of her transcript and portfolio from John Jay’s architecture classes and a program she participated in last summer at Cooper Union.

John Jay High School is one of the very few high schools in the region with a four-year architecture program. Students begin with Design & Draw for Production, then take a sequence of classes that integrate research and technical skills with the creative aspects of artistic rendering and model making. The leader of the program, Joe Rocchio, brings practical experience to the classroom through his previous career in the design and construction fields. He describes Peacock as an intuitive, creative and talented student with a keen love of architecture and all things creative.

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“John Jay’s architecture classes solidified my passion for architecture and allowed me to explore so much more,” Peacock said. “The program is digital and traditional. It’s given me the foundations to strive to learn more.”

Like most high school students, Peacock is juggling her studies with other pursuits: she’s a focused student; an artist who takes digital art commissions for character designs, logos, and landscapes; and an avid fencer who trains three times a week and has been given the opportunity to participate in the USA fencing nationals this July. She is committed to exploring architecture as a career. When asked if she speaks another language, she responds, “If architecture is another language, then yes!”

This article was written by the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.