Presentation of $3 Million grant check for From HERE to CAREER Academy

Mark Peevy, assistant commissioner for Secondary Initiatives for the Technical College System of Georgia, presented a $3 million check to Catoosa County Public Schools for its planned From HERE to CAREER Academy. From left: Peevy; From Here to Career Academy board chairman Jonathan Connell; CCPS Board of Education chairman Don Dycus; TCSG Office of College & Career Transitions director Jenny Williams; CCPS Superintendent Denia Reese; Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Heidi Popham.

Jan. 14 marked the formal presentation to Catoosa County Public Schools and the From HERE to CAREER Academy of a $3 million check from the Technical College System of Georgia to help get the construction of the academy started.

Around 100 people gathered at the Catoosa campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. Catoosa Schools Superintendent Denia Reese shared some of the history of the academy — how a host of people came together over the course of several years to plan the academy that will train high school students in numerous high-demand technical pathways to prepare them for the workplace.

Although the campus has not yet been built, the first “cohort” of students is already training at GNTC and during the same Jan. 14 event, the students were presented with their first certificates of accomplishment.

Reese recognized and thanked the Board of Education, board members from the academy’s steering committee, Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Dalton State College, GNTC’s president Heidi Popham and her team at GNTC’s Catoosa campus, local and state elected officials, teachers and others who contributed to winning the TCSG grant.

Reese made a point of thanking three people she said were responsible for writing the narratives and developing the forms required by the TCSG grant: CCPS Assistant Superintendent Kim Nichols, CCPS High School Improvement Specialist Matt Maynor, and CCPS Communications Specialist Marissa Brower. “We received 82 of 84 possible points (on the application), which is exceptional,” said Reese.

Reese also thanked Frank Pinson and Jenny Williams of TCSG for answering “thousands of questions during our application process.”

The grant, said Reese, will fund 20% of the cost of construction and equipment for the academy, and “the new academy will be a significant project in ESPLOST 6.”

Attending to present the $3 million grant check was Mark Peevy, assistant commissioner for Secondary Initiatives for the TCSG.

“Mark,” Reese addressed Peevy, “on behalf of the Board of Education and the From HERE to CAREER Academy board of directors, I want to thank the Technical College System of Georgia for awarding the College and Career Academy grant to our community. I appreciate you for being here to celebrate the grant award.”

Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

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