Things are constantly changing in life, at work, and certainly in technology. Similarly, the Porter County Career and Tech Center has been changing rapidly.
We have the only student-built, working solar and wind demonstration project on top of any high school in Indiana. Our Modern Machining students have built three wind turbines that have been wired by our Electronics students. Our students have also built a robotic solar tracker which points two solar panels at the sun as it travels across the sky.
All of the solar panels and wind generators are powering lights in our building that help cut costs and also serve as emergency lights in the event of a utility company breakdown. Our students will be busy this year collecting data on various solar installations to determine the relative efficiency of each and installing at least one more wind generator. We also have a 7.7 KwH solar installation on our roof that has been generating money for our school corporation now for more than 18 months. It is equivalent to the amount of energy required to fully power a single, large American home.
These projects inspire our students to learn more about alternative energy while still learning how to splice wires and calculate Ohm’s Law.
Another new adventure this year is the movement of the 1912 Grand Trunk Railway station, which was slated for demolition, to the Career and Tech Center property. The historic structure provided area residents some entertainment this summer as it was moved two blocks to its new location.
Students will be working to restore and re-purpose the building into a future classroom. Construction Trades, Landscaping/Horticulture, and Electronics students will find some work during the restoration process of the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired building. Fundraising is still being conducted to help us turn the 3,000 sq. ft. building into a 21st Century classroom.
The economy seems to be recovering as employers are calling frequently for graduates and present students. Machinists, mechanics, and electrical trades seem to be in the highest demand.
At the end of the last school year, we announced a new scholarship opportunity for Machine Trades students. The Urschel Laboratories Next Generation Scholarship program paid for three students to get a full ride to Vincennes University and full time job at Urschel Laboratories. Task Force Tips will be doing the same thing for an additional two local students.
The faculty, staff, and students at the Career and Tech Center appreciate the support of our local employers, sending schools, and the Valparaiso School Board of Education for their encouragement of our work. We are committed to helping all students “find a path to success”. For more information about our programs, go to www.pccte.org