When Tate Kwiecinski learned of the Porter County Career and Technical Center, he jumped at the chance to attend.
“I simply wanted to get out of ‘regular school’ for half of the day. I was unaware of the potential of taking vocational classes,” he said.
Kwiecinski, a senior at Chesterton High School, is now excelling in his second year of electronics and technology classes at PCCTC.
“The Porter County Career and Technical Center is an amazing facility for educating students and preparing them for the real world,” he said. “This school allows students to work hands-on, on projects that would be likely to happen in the work field.
“It has been the best thing that has happened to me, education wise. I have been given an abundance of opportunities to improve my skills and who I am as a person,” he added.
The Valparaiso teen recently put his electronics knowledge to the test in Indianapolis during a Skills, USA competition. Kwiecinski placed second among students from other Indiana vocational schools.
“Coming in second place was a great achievement for me and felt astounding. Of course, I wanted first place, but fortunately this was awarded to a fellow student in our class,” he said.
Kwiecinski will study computer science at Purdue University Calumet, and hopes to develop software in the future.
Until then, he is wasting no time learning his trade. In addition to working on multiple Android apps, Kwiecinski partnered with the Duneland Education Foundation to improve its website.
He also recently finished consultation work for Fronius, a solar electronics company. “I developed a web application for them to calculate and compare the rates of their solar inverters to other inverters,” he said.
“The project turned out amazing and I developed the application entirely while receiving input from the Fronius team.”
Kwiecinski is the son of Rodney Kwiecinski and Cari Westbury, and attends Valparaiso Nazarene Church. He enjoys developing program applications and websites in his free time.