When you write a lot of stories about the planning of new school buildings – the design, the construction, the costs (oh my!) – you get a nice sense of closure when you can finally write about the grand opening.
Granted, these events are usually not all that grand, which is probably reassuring to local taxpayers. There’s a ribbon cutting, some speeches, maybe some student comments or music performances to kick things off. But it’s still pretty grand to the people who make the projects come together.
A view of the new Adams County Tech Prep building. Photo by Brett Berwager.
And that’s the sense I got while covering the dedication of the new Adams County Tech Prep building, which was built on the Gettysburg Area High School campus to house the Culinary Arts, Diesel Mechanics, Allied Health and Law Enforcement career and technical education programs.
A lot of people in the small crowd spoke about finally having a facility dedicated to career education in the county and how that facility would help in the program’s mission to make students career and college ready.
And the best part of my night was talking with the program’s students. Though most of those in attendance were seniors and wouldn’t benefit from a larger and more modern building than the old Keefauver Center, the students spoke about how much the Tech Prep
Students talk about their experience in the Adams County Tech Prep program during a dedication event. Photo by Brett Berwager.
program did for them. Some became more motivated in school. Others realized that they could and would go on to college. And still others discovered what they wanted to do as a career, or even what they didn’t want to do.
As the programs grow and develop, Director Jim Cramer said they’re trying to reach out to younger students to make them aware of the courses offered.
He said parents often realize they want their kids enrolled in Tech Prep when it’s too late – when the kids are struggling in high school or when their schedules won’t allow it.
With a new and modern facility right next to the high school, I’d expect there to be even more interest in the Tech Prep programs, and Cramer agreed.
“Going from rented space to a dedicated facility is a huge leap,” he said.