Supporters of the Food Science & Agriculture Center at Plymouth High School cut the ribbon during its grand opening celebration Oct. 1.
Donors and other supporters of the Food Science & Agriculture Center at Plymouth High School gathered Oct. 1 to celebrate the grand opening of this innovative, collaborative facility.
The community is invited to get its first look at the building during the Homecoming Open House from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9.
“This new facility, the Food Science and Agriculture Center, is a symbol of the commitment to the future of our community,” Plymouth School District Superintendent Carrie Dassow told the nearly 200 people attending the grand opening.
Noting that the facility was a dream for a long time and advanced by numerous people, including the late Mark Rhyan, Dr. Dassow said it makes possible new curriculum that will engage students, heighten their interest in food science and allow them to form relationships with area employers that hopefully will lead them to choose to raise their families in the Plymouth area.
“I always say that we have a responsibility to dream for our students, and this is a dream that has become a reality thanks to all of you here tonight,” she said. “The Plymouth School District staff and students are grateful to everyone who contributed and supported this project and believed in our dreams.”
Board of Education President Tim St. Clair also thanked all who supported the project, including the Plymouth Education Foundation, which raised the $1 million needed to build it. “The building will allow us to provide a higher level of learning for our students,” Mr. St. Clair said.
For more than 25 years, the foundation has been providing financial support to the district, said board president Crystal Fieber. “The foundation is proud to partner with the district and lead support for innovative initiatives like this new center that maintain the long-standing tradition of excellence in education, which Plymouth is well-known for,” she said.
Anne Troka, who as the foundation’s executive director was charged with leading the capital campaign, said she is grateful the community places such a high value on education.
“Each of you made this center possible for our students and our community,” she said. “It is outstanding to see what can be achieved when we partner together and make a long-term investment to benefit our students and our community.”
Louie Gentine, who with Dave Ohman served as honorary chairmen of the capital campaign, noted that the school district, business community, city and community all contributed to this unique learning environment. “This happened because many people believe in this school,” he said.
He also said it will benefit a wide variety of students – those headed for college or technical degrees or directly into he workforce – plus community members as well. “Excellent local schools give families who are considering moving here a top reason to make Plymouth their home,” he added. “I am proud to be a part of this new learning center and I look forward to more opportunities for our community to partner with the district and the foundation to continue to provide a high quality education in Plymouth, which is closely tied to the long-term success of our community.”
Teresa Suttner, who with Nancy Jusky served as chairwomen of the capital campaign, thanked the more than 160 individuals, businesses and organizations who donated to the project. “This center will open doors for students and their futures following high school graduation, as well as provide excellent reasons for our students to return as future residents in our community,” she said.
Mrs. Jusky said she was very proud of the community for placing such a high priority on education. “There is a small moment when great becomes spectacular, and you’re in it,” she said. “Plymouth understands the value of continually moving forward to keep our community vibrant.”
Mayor Don Pohlman said the city was privileged to contribute to the project. “We are truly blessed to have a community that invests in the future for one and all,” he said.
Michael Thompson from the state Department of Instruction lauded the district and community for working together to create a facility that will prepare people to compete in a worldwide market.
“Projects like this really tell a lot about the character of a community,” he said. “I want my kids to go here. How far do you bus?”
Mike Lanser of Lakeshore Technical College said the facility will greatly enhance the PHS academic program and demonstrates that students are at the center of the district’s vision. “No matter how impressive this facility is, even more impressive are the teachers,” he added, noting that they are the ones who will ensure the center is a quality learning environment.
Dane Checolinski of the Sheboygan Economic Development Corp. said he has long been impressed by how Plymouth has taken the lead on initiatives such as its partnership with LTC, soft skills, INSPIRE Sheboygan County and Youth Apprenticeships. “What’s next for your district?” he asked.
Dan Mella, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and PHS Principal Jennifer Rauscher said what’s next are connections between the class curriculum and real-life experiences in the food science and agriculture fields.
“Growth of this program will be organic – no pun intended – as it will depend on the partnerships that develop,” Mr. Mella said.
The dedication ceremony included a ribbon-cutting and presentation of a plaque from the foundation to the district. Erv and Linda Golembiewski, whose initial donation kick-started the capital campaign, planted a ceremonial seed.
Attendees were able to tour the facility, as PHS students explained some of its state-of-the-art features, including aquaponics, hydroponics and refractometers.
They also enjoyed hors d’oeuvres created by PHS Culinary Arts students and District Food Service, including Caramel Apple Cupcakes developed by student Moriah Butters especially for the event.
Thank you to all our donors! List of donors to the General Endowment of the Plymouth Education Foundation
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The Plymouth Education Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, making your gift tax deductible.