School District Foundation offers scholarships, opportunity

ADAMS TOWNSHIP — For more than a decade, the Adams Township School District Foundation has offered an expanding range of opportunities for students thanks to donations from alumni, friends and family.

The foundation began in 2003, focusing on scholarships for Jeffers High School graduates going to college. Since then, the scope of the foundation’s influence and support has continued to expand now including trades and support for district projects.

“Not everybody is college bound so let’s try to prepare students for the real world in hands-on things like the trades or culinary,” said Martin Iskra, foundation president.

For the last five years, the curriculum has been expanded to support trade programs at the district such as cosmetology, welding, carpentry, plumbing, masonry and more recently culinary.

The new Jeffers trade building and culinary location were all foundation projects and funded by the organization. These trades programs are not certified like those at the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) but instead are intended to teach skills to all interested students. If a student expresses a desire to gain certification, the foundation may offer a scholarship for them to attend courses at CCISD.

“The idea behind the trades and the culinary is to give students a little bit of hands-on experience so they, if they’re interested, they can move on beyond that and they can get certified,” Iskra said.

The Jeffers trade program is about getting students’ feet wet in the trades and teaching some of those skills, even if students ultimately go on to college or other career paths. They have the opportunity to learn useful trade skills either way.

“It gives them a little bit of experience so when they walk into a room they can say, ‘I’ve been there, I know what this does. I’ve done that before,'” he explained.

The foundation has also financially supported upgrades to the school greenhouse offering healthy eating learning opportunities, a tie into the culinary program and a source of fresh food for students.

One way for interested community members to get involved is the yearly supporter dinner, put on by the foundation Sept. 29. Proceeds go to the scholarship funds and supporting new educational developments at the district.

TOMORROW: The latest projects of the foundation, and how donations from the Adams Township community provide sustainability.