SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Lehigh Career & Technical Institute unveiled the contents of a time capsule sealed 25 years ago during a ceremony Tuesday (Oct. 19, 2021) to mark the school’s 50th anniversary.
State and local officials joined LCTI staff and students for the event, which featured remarks from Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Sheila Ireland.
Ireland said LCTI, along with career and technical centers across the commonwealth, ensure students learn skills they need to succeed in today’s workplace. They’re a vital resource not only for high schoolers, but for adults who’ve chosen to leave their jobs and re-up their skills during the pandemic, she said.
The Department of Labor & Industry supports workers seeking opportunities to advance with training via Pennsylvania CareerLink, federally-funded digital literacy and workforce development grants and the new program, SkillUp PA, Ireland said.
“Just this August, we launched SkillUp PA, an online program that offers Pennsylvania workers free virtual job trainings across a variety of fields,” including accounting and finance, human resources and marketing, she said.
More than 50 people gathered for the afternoon ceremony, which also featured remarks from Joint Operating Committee Chairperson Gary Fedorcha, students Julia Remaly and Ethan Andrews, Executive Director Tim Rushton and Director of Career & Technical Education Darin VanNorman.
Fedorcha was a teacher at LCTI when it opened its doors in 1971 as Lehigh County Vocational Technical School. He served as an administrator when the time capsule was sealed a quarter-century ago.
“I was one of a number of teachers who were hired before the school was built. Many of us were interviewed here on a site that was just a concrete floor,” said Fedorcha, noting that LCTI has grown into the state’s largest career and technical school since then. “I believe we’re also the best,” he added.
Andrews, a Whitehall High School senior, noted that his LCTI program, Web Design/Web Programming, wasn’t available 25 years.
“I’m a four-year member of the program and I can’t wait to see how much the school advances in the next 25 years. Nothing would make me happier than seeing the next generation of students taking advantage of the same great education I had the honor to receive,” he said.
After hearing from several speakers, ceremony participants signed custom posters that will be sealed in the school’s 50th-anniversary time capsule next spring. They also got a look at all the items found stored in the time capsule.
Three items rendered all but useless by technological advances — a VHS videotape, a floppy disk and a CD-ROM — were among the most notable memorabilia in a capsule packed with everything from pin-back buttons and a T-shirt to photos and a student roster. Stored on the videotape, disk and CD, respectively, were a promotional film for LCTI, a computer virus that plagued the school in 1996 and the digital encyclopedia Microsoft Encarta.
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