Wilco program’s diverse opportunities and experiences

Photographer: Ryan Meyer

Photographer: Ryan Meyer

Written by Ryan Meyer, Copy Editor

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Wilco is a diverse program offered by a collection of high schools, such as Lockport and Bolingbrook, that has the objective of preparing senior students for their future careers through a mix of hands-on, vocational training, and in-class learning with a teacher.

Students in the Wilco program at LTHS are transported to the Wilco Area Career Center or to Joliet Junior College (JJC), at 12:15 PM, during the beginning of fifth period, by a school bus and arrive a little before 12:40 PM. During the ride, students can eat their lunch, as they are not at LTHS from fifth to seventh hour.

The Wilco program offers a multitude of different types of classes: computer technology, criminal justice, certified nurse training, game design, introduction to health professions, fire science, emergency medical service training, and veterinary assistant training.

Students interested in courses such as auto service (mechanics), cosmetology, barbering, culinary art, and early childhood education take the programs at LTHS, but the courses are still offered under the Wilco umbrella of courses.

Every course within the program has the goal of being as inclusive as possible and discourages gender stereotypes, so it is not uncommon to see a male nursing student or a female fire science student.

All rules that apply at LTHS, concerning behavior, also apply at Wilco. In terms of dress code, some courses require students to wear a uniform.

LTHS Guidance Counselor Ms. Kimberly Koranda says that the Wilco program is an “excellent program that offers students the opportunity to experience real world occupations before going to college” and that the Wilco program is “fantastic for students to find out what they want in their future and for students to learn from teachers with a great amount of experience in their fields.”

Students interested in the Wilco program should keep in mind that the commitment to their program is crucial, as students are not allowed to drop the program once the course starts.

Becky Latham, a senior at LTHS who took veterinary assistant courses, says that Wilco offers “fantastic clinical experiences,” and she “doesn’t regret the time she has spent” in the program.

Students interested in courses such as game design will be interested to hear from Payton Godinez, a senior at LTHS who takes game design. She says that Wilco “is an amazing experience and offers students the opportunity with programs, such as the Unreal Engine, that developers use daily.”

Payton said that in her experience “many students don’t know what Wilco is,” and she “thinks it would be great if more students knew about it, so that they don’t regret missing out on the opportunity of being able to take Wilco their senior year.”

Students interested in the Wilco program should see their Guidance Counselors and learn as much as possible about the program before going into it to ensure that Wilco is the right fit for them.

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