Antinozzi Associates' Geroge Perham stands before his alma mater, Stratford High School, during $125 million renovation.

George Perham stands before the main entrance of Stratford High School, where he took his first drafting course.

When Antinozzi architect George Perham put a shovel in the ground at Stratford High School’s recent ground breaking for the $125-million renovation it was at the building where he first fell in love with architectural drawing.

“This was one of the most meaningful groundbreakings of my career,” said Perham. “As I stood there with a shovel in hand, I thought back to 47 years ago when I drew my first architectural line here.”

The 1970 graduate, who serves as a principal, is one of the architects on the new 236,000 square-foot addition and renovation of Stratford High School that will create a state-of-the-art school for faculty and students.

Perham credits his high school drafting teacher, Mr. Kekacks, with nurturing his love of drawing. “I totally fell in love with the idea of drawing lines with pencil and straight edges that actually turned into places to live, work and play,” Perham said. Because of his enthusiasm he completed every class project ahead of schedule. His teacher, he said, had to create a project each of his three years in architectural class that wasn’t in his school year plan for him to design. “I still have the drawings for one of the projects – a vacation home for a wealthy client.”

At the recent groundbreaking, Perham joined other town and regional dignitaries in taking the first turn of dirt to mark the opening of the project, which is slated for completion in 2020.Antinozzi Associates' Geroge Perham as he appeared in his 1970 Stratford High School yearbook.

“I took a moment to walk down one of the corridors I walked many times as a student at Stratford High. In a moment, I realized how lucky I was to have achieved my dream, and I have my teachers and guidance counselors at the school to thank,” he said. “I don’t know of any one of my colleagues that have had this opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing the school transform with my company’s design,” he added.

Stratford High continues to provide Introduction to Architecture and Engineering courses within their Career and Technology Pathway Program. Through the ACE Mentor Program, Antinozzi Associates has provided nearly 400 Stratford High School students in the program with additional architectural, construction and engineering experience since the program’s inception 15 years ago.