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Collinsville Area Vocational Center receives scholarship donation

Collinsville Area Vocational Center has received what officials call a generous donation from longtime Collinsville residents Doug and Marilyn Huber to endow vocational scholarships.

The announcement was one piece of news highlighted during February 2022 Career and Technical Education Month.

CAVC Director Joe McGinnis said, “The Huber family was looking to be philanthropic and help improve the community where they raised their family. They designated their gift to be split equally between the Kahoks Teaching Kahoks future teachers program and post-secondary scholarships for vocational students.”

Marilyn Huber was a school psychologist in Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 for 17 years before retiring. Their children Aaron (CHS Class of 2005) and Patrick (CHS Class of 2006) attended Collinsville schools.

Doug’s father was the superintendent of schools in Westville, Ill., which added to their family’s desire to support education. Their passion for the Collinsville community, and new scholarship initiatives launched by CUSD 10 and CAVC, provided the catalyst for their philanthropy.

“I grew up in Collinsville and it’s where we raised our family,” said Marilyn Huber. “Collinsville has such dedicated teachers and staff. We are impressed with the innovative approach the district has taken to grow future teachers through the Kahoks Teaching Kahoks program. And, as a former school psychologist, I know students have different talents and many thrive in the ‘hands-on’ environment offered by Career and Technical Education. Access to both of these opportunities is important.”

The contribution to these scholarship programs will help make it possible for high school graduates to continue their education and move toward careers.

“A simple act by our family will make a difference to students who are trying to pay for college or technical training,” she said.

“Mr. and Mrs. Huber’s passion to make a difference, and their love for the district, are evident in their generous contribution that will benefit our high school students for years to come and expand our work force in both education and the trades,” said Collinsville CUSD 10 Superintendent Dr. Mark B. Skertich. “They embody one of our communities’ strongest qualities: a constant dedication to our students.”

The Huber gift is among several scholarship funds supported through the newly organized Collinsville Area Community Foundation. For more information on supporting scholarships for Collinsville CUSD 10 and CAVC students, visit the Collinsville Area Community Foundation website. Donations through CACF are tax deductible.

Collinsville Area Vocational Center currently boasts its highest enrollment in a decade as more students and families see Career and Technical Education as a practical path to the workforce.

“We are preparing students for careers through a wide variety of programs. From long-established classes for the trades like welding and automotive mechanics, to courses in fields like education and cybersecurity, CAVC has diverse offerings that appeal to a broad-range of students,” said CAVC Director Joe McGinnis.

In addition to Collinsville High School, CAVC currently serves students from Civic Memorial High School, Dupo High School, East Alton – Wood River High School, Edwardsville High School, Highland High School, Lebanon High School, Mascoutah High School and Triad High School.

McGinnis says other local schools are considering becoming part of CAVC.

“Taking a course at the CAVC is the safest, most affordable way to learn about a future career,” he says, “Students can see if a field appeals to them and use vocational classes – which offer things like dual credit and professional certifications – as a springboard to the workforce and/or post-high school education.”
McGinnis says course popularity varies from year-to-year. Currently, auto mechanics, criminal justice and welding top students’ lists. Today, many CAVC classes are at capacity and have a waitlist. Program admittance is very competitive. Students are ranked based on academic performance, attendance and discipline during their early high school years to be accepted into vocational courses which are offered to juniors and seniors.

Current CAVC programs are: Auto Body Repair, Automotive Mechanics, Building Trades, Clinical Health Occupations, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity, Early Childhood Education, Electronics, Engineering, Food Service, K-12 Teacher Prep, Precision Machining, and Welding.

“For the 2022-23 school year, we will launch the Kahoks Teaching Kahoks initiative to instruct and recruit future K-12 educators. This will be done through 2 new courses, Teaching as a Profession and a 2nd year education field experience course. We hope to add additional new course offerings over the next three years. A dental assistant and agriculture program are two under consideration,” said McGinnis.

In March, CAVC will launch an updated career exploration project to make young students and their families more aware of CTE programs and career paths. The plan includes digital curriculum and a mobile career exploration trailer that will be brought to schools serving students in K – 8 grades.

“One of the long-term goals of CUSD 10 and CAVC is to increase career awareness and opportunities for students at all grade levels within the district,” said McGinnis, “ We have reimagined and are rolling out new ways to increase career exposure to students in the lower grade levels. This will include a digital career curriculum for elementary students and a mobile career exploration trailer that will have 3D printers and LEGO stem kits that classroom teachers can reserve. As we roll out this initiative we will also be looking to add additional equipment and tooling to further expand opportunities for district students.”
Parents wanting to know more about Career and Technical Education, should contact CAVC Director Joe McGinnis at jmcginni@cusd.kahoks.org or (618) 343-6141.

The Collinsville Area Vocational Center is a two-year, public vocational training center for high school juniors and seniors. Housed on the campus of Collinsville High School in Southwestern Illinois, CAVC is a cooperative program which also includes students from Civic Memorial High School, Dupo High School, East Alton-Wood River High School, Edwardsville High School, Highland High School, Lebanon High School, Mascoutah High School and Triad High School.

From left, machining instructor Cody Coffin, Doug Huber, Marilyn Huber and CAVC Director Joe McGinnis.

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