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A $10,000 gift from a generous donor launched a new fund for the Jo Daviess Carroll CTE Academy this week (formerly the Area Vocational Center). The gift will start a fund called the CTE Academy Foundation to support capital improvements to the CTE Academy buildings and grounds located in Elizabeth, IL as well as support for educational programs and materials.

The Community Foundation of Jo Daviess County will administer the fund and support the CTE Academy’s efforts to raise funds for facility improvements. The initial gift was made by Emily & Kevin Nicolin in honor of Emily’s dad Roger Stoddard.“ Dad would be moved to dance a polka or attempt a hole-in-one to be honored in this way”, said Emily.

Nicolin worked at the CTE Academy as a substitute culinary arts teacher last spring. That’s when she observed the need for facility improvements and began talking with Kevin about the idea of making a gift. “Dad would be very proud to be helping the CTE Academy which has trained and impacted so many young people in Jo Daviess County,” said Emily. “As a restaurant owner and cook himself for many years he worked with and trained many young people over the years.”

The CTE Academy Foundation will raise funds for a series of needed improvements to program areas including Early Childhood Education classroom and Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management kitchen, as well as facility improvements including LED lighting, solar energy, HVAC, tuckpointing, and security systems. The effort to start a CTE Academy Foundation has been in the works since last summer thanks to a committee including Emily Nicolin, Bridgette Stocks, Kelsea Brown, Mike “Chief” Kuznier, Dr. Kris Hall and Sue Muesel, a 41-year employee and lifeblood of the CTE Academy. Kris Hall, CTE Academy Director said, “This gift is inspiring. This fund will be a way for the community and alumni to support the CTE Academy and ensure its long term health and vitality. We are so glad to have the Community Foundation as a partner to support the administration of the fund. It’s just terrific!”

Gifts to the CTE Academy Foundation can be made in any amount online on the Community Foundation website at or by writing a check to: Community Foundation of Jo Daviess County, P.O. Box 77, Elizabeth, IL 61028, write CTEA Foundation in the memo.

“The Community Foundation is excited to work with the CTE Academy”, said Eric Dregne, President of the Community Foundation of Jo Daviess County, “connecting donors like Emily & Kevin with the tools to support a cause they care about is what we do best.”

The Jo Daviess Carroll CTE Academy provides high-quality career technical education for NW Illinois Juniors and Seniors through a partnership of six local school districts in Galena, River Ridge, Scales Mound, Stockton, Warren and West Carroll.

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