LARWILL – Whitko Community Schools students will have an opportunity to learn and build skills in construction trades and agriculture, while at the same time explore career options, earn industry-recognized certification and test out ideas for starting a small business.

The two programs are among the many offerings for students at the Whitko Career Academy, which is an extension of Whitko Junior-Senior High School. The programs recently received additional support when the academy was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Dekko Foundation.

“I am very grateful for the Dekko Foundation’s generous gift, showing their confidence in the Whitko Career Academy and its programs,” said Whitko Superintendent Tim Pivarnik. “Skills learned at the academy directly benefit the community by providing individuals ready to join the workforce.”

In the construction lab area, 38 students can pursue multiple pathways in the Next Level Study courses mandated by the Governor’s Workforce and have the opportunity to earn the following certifications by the end of the school year: NCCER Core, Carpentry Level 1, Carpentry Framing and Finishing Level 2, Electrical Level 1 and Electrical Level 2.

Renovation of the current greenhouse and construction of another greenhouse unit also at the academy ensures 149 students have hands-on learning activities in the areas of food, plant and soil science within their curriculum to increase the students’ understanding of production, processes and marketing of horticultural products as evidenced by pre- and post-tests.

“The Whitko Career Academy is very thankful for the trust the Dekko Foundation has shown in us by awarding our building with the recent financial assistance,” said WCA Director Joe Luce. “We are confident we will be able to use the funds to ‘Make a Difference’ in our students’ experience at the WCA.”

The Whitko Community School’s mission is to educate each and every child who attends its schools to become successful, lifelong learners and positive contributors to the betterment of society. The district serves eastern Kosciusko and western Whitley counties in northern Indiana with two elementary schools, in Pierceton and South Whitley; a junior senior high school in South Whitley and a state-of-the-art career academy in Larwill.

The Dekko Foundation, established in 1981 and based in Kendallville, invests in projects that help children and young people ages 0-18 be self-sufficient and build skills, knowledge and character so they can grow up to achieve economic freedom as adults.