Adams gets vocational funding support through its foundation

Daily Mining Gazette/Graham Jaehnig Shown here is welding equipment for one of the classes offered at the Jeffers High School Vocational Center.

PAINESDALE — The Adams Township School District Foundation (ATSDF) offers students many opportunities that they otherwise would not have.

The ATSDF is a nonprofit organization that provides the means for alumni and community members to support school programs and the community. Just one of the aims of the foundation is to provide scholarships to students.

“We have a very strong foundation,” Superintendent Tim Keteri said, “and they are very strong in terms of scholarships. They give out $130,000, and we have small classes. So, in a typical class of 40, 20 kids are getting a lot of money.”

Keteri was concerned about students lacking post-secondary opportunities, as well as those students who had not selected a career choice. He felt the school was not offering enough opportunities for students to explore.

“We felt that every student should have an opportunity for a career pathway, not just a college career,” Keteri explained.

He began interviewing graduating seniors to learn what they wanted.

“And seniors would be pretty honest, because they’re leaving,” he said, “and I told them to be very blunt with us, so we could provide opportunities for the future.”

After he gathered some interviews, Keteri and his staff found what was missing was a comprehensive trades program, so they met with the ATSDF and discussed the interview findings. The meeting produced positive and significant results, he said.

“Let’s start giving them welding. Let’s start giving them cosmetology,” Keteri said. “Let’s start planning a sequence where kids that want to take a two-year (course) or a one-year, at least have the opportunity to look at those fields, and if something does spark an interest, they can pursue it at Gogebic, at Northern, the Jacobetti Center.”

The foundation members embraced the idea but advised starting out small.

“So, we started out with a pole barn idea,” Keteri said. “We’re just going to put a pole barn in the back of the building, and we’re going to house it with things.”