PAINESDALE - The Adams Township School District Foundation, Inc., has historically used funds to help graduating students with scholarships, but now the foundation is offering more support to the district.
The foundation is now supporting a K-12 art program at the Adams Townships School District while also assisting with scholarships.
"The art program is a collaboration with Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Schools," said Superintendent Tim Keteri.
Teacher Jade Bolthouse now works between both districts to bring art classes to the students who otherwise didn't have the option.
"We both were deficient in the arts," Keteri said.
Neither district could afford to run an art program, so the foundation stepped in to help supplement the program for at least a year. Frank Rugani of the foundation was supportive of the initiative.
"Hopefully we can bring even more art, be it an event, a speaker or traveling artist," Keteri said.
The foundation has made it a mission to support the arts, Rugani said.
"We're hoping to raise more money," he said.
The foundation is also exploring trades programs for students, thanks to a $20,000 donation from Paul Karppinen, a graduate of Jeffers High School.
"He's an alumni of 1961 and he's been talking for many years about the lack of welders, plumbers, electricians," Keteri said.
Karppinen, who has a background in trades and is a self-made businessman, first donated $10,000 to the district to be able to create a trades program for interested students. With the help of Albert Koskela, president of the Copper Country Intermediate School District Board of Education, the program has come to life.
"(Koskela) didn't like the lack of options for non-college students," Keteri said.
The district paired with the CCISD to use trades equipment no longer being used and now, the plan is to move forward with a true Career and Technical Education program at ATSD. The district was able to offer a one-hour block of trades to students.
"As of today, he has given $20,000 to develop and perpetuate a true CTE program," Keteri said.
The students are able to use equipment and facilities at the CCISD, which used to have a CTE program.
Keteri said the foundation is successful in helping sustain these programs thanks to the generous support from Jeffers High School graduates.
"They have a connection and they support us," he said.