New Teacher Spotlight - Stephen Shannon, Criminal Justice Instructor

The Criminal Justice program has gained a new instructor this year—Stephen Shannon, a long-time police officer looking to impart his knowledge on the next generation. He dove straight into work at CPAVTS, and has been enjoying every minute of it! Mr. Shannon took some time to talk about where he’s been and where he plans to go in his new career:


What did you do before coming to work at Cumberland Perry AVTS?

“I was a police officer for Washington Township Police Department for 12 years.”


What made you decide you wanted to teach?

“I come from a family of teachers, and I taught a little while I was at the police academy. I loved the feeling I had when someone who I was teaching got it, when it clicked and you could see the lightbulb go on and they knew what they had to do. I wanted to be an influence on the next generation of officers and teach them integrity, professionalism, and generally make them good public servants.”


How has your experience been so far?

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of support I’ve received from teachers and staff in transitioning into this role. It’s been a good start. I’ve enjoyed the actual teaching, interacting with students, and I enjoy their enthusiasm. They’ve been energetic and invested in the program.”


What part of the curriculum are you looking most forward to teaching?

“Some of it I’ve already taught! I really enjoy the fingerprinting projects, because you can see the students learning since they have to work with physical fingerprints. I’m also looking forward to putting them into critical thinking situations where they have to make tough decisions—choices that affect someone’s freedom, or that could save someone’s life. I’m just looking forward to them getting into learning interpersonal skills and developing their critical thinking.”


What’s the most important thing you hope to impart on your students?

“Men and women in this field are desperately needed, but only to the extent that they can have integrity and be effective in their job. One of the things we’ve talked about [in class] is how our program is different since we work with people at the worst of times. I want them to be able to relate to people, whether it’s comforting someone experiencing loss or being firm with a suspect who is being uncooperative.”



Program Spotlight- Carpentry

Program Spotlight- Carpentryprogram spotlight 2017 image 1

Teacher Spotlight- Mr. Snider & Mr. Anderson

What is the most significant new or different aspect to your program this year?

“Adding sustainability practices and conservation to our program, and educating students on new practices and materials.”

“As for NEW, I’m still getting some 9th graders and more female students which is non-traditional for this program. We are also doing Penn College Now, which is college in high school.”


What are some of the more common career pathways your students take when they leave CPAVTS?

“Most of our students go directly into the workforce. Some choose to enter post-secondary education or go into the military. There are many opportunities in residential and commercial construction with very good wages and benefits.”

“Careers pathways students tend to take from this program are construction worker, carpenter, laborer, iron worker, steel erector, bridge worker, or post-secondary education.”


What particular training/unit do employers seek that helps student get their foot in the door?

“Basic skills are a must, but you need to be committed to being at work every day, on time, follow directions and be able to pass a drug test.”

“OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid Training and Certification on the JLG equipment are all offered here, and help students.”


What is some of the recent technology and/or trends in the profession with which students become familiar?

“Our newest technology is called a total station. This is a computerized measuring device used for laying out buildings or an entire development.”

 “The upperclassmen are starting to use a Total Station and they also have the opportunity to get their operator’s license for the JLG equipment.”


program spotlight- dec. 2017 image 2What unit/topic do students struggle with the most in your program and why do you think that is?

“It would probably be estimating, because of all of the math involved.”

“Math- it is taught so many different ways and students do not use it every day so they forget how to do it. Other than that I would say face-to-face communications, due to too many types of technology used on a daily basis. They don’t seem to be able to talk to someone unless they use a phone or other types of electronic devices.”


Explain a typical day in your program.

“We have an essential question, every day, related to the unit/topic we are covering. Then a short lesson/discussion on the E.Q., followed by “hands on” work in the shop to practice the tasks involved in the unit/topic.”

“A typical day would entail students coming in and changing into their uniform, answering the essential question, spending theory time to discuss, and then spending shop time working on projects. Then Social Studies for my students, and then back to the shop to continue working. Then they clean up and change because it’s time to head back to school in the morning or home in the afternoon.”



What advice would you give student who have completed your program?

“Always give your best effort. There is no such thing as “can’t”, there is only “won’t”.”

“I would say they should continue to work hard to achieve goals they have set for themselves. Hard work has never killed anyone.”


How many years have you been at CPAVTS?

“I’ve been here 23 years.”

“I have been employed here for 7 years.”


What was your experience before coming to CPAVTS?

“Ten years teaching at a private school- Carpentry. Residential/Commercial Carpenter for two companies and then self-employed for 14 years including having my own business, while teaching at the private school.”

“I graduated from Southern Hunting County High School, I am currently taking classes through Penn State and HACC.  I worked in Commercial Construction for 13 years with Palmer Construction, and Frederick Concrete/Industrial Rebar. I did Residential Construction for six years with Foremost Industries, Brim Builders, and Allison Homes & Construction. I have done both sides of construction with all phases of building. I started as a laborer/carpenter and worked my way up to Assistant Superintendent in Commercial Construction.”


 Program Spotlight- Students

Summarize what you learn in your program in one sentence.

“Basic carpentry skills for every real world situation/job in construction.”

“You can learn how to build every part of a house.”

“You learn how to frame by codes.”

“I learned finish and rough carpentry from the bottom of the house to the top.”

“What I have learned in this program is to properly make blueprints.”

“It is important to measure twice, cut once.”

“We learn all about foundation, PA one call, blueprints and different power tools.”

“Following directions is very important.”


What is the hardest part of your program?

“Learning the math for the techniques.”

“Dying impact batteries.”

“The math that makes everything work together.”

“The hardest part for me is getting everything done on time and up to code.”

“Remembering all the different ways to lay out all the different types of rafters.”

“Drawing and understanding blueprints is the hardest part in my opinion.”

“The hardest part is getting projects down amongst distractions.”


What is the most fun part of your program?program spotlight dec 2017 image 3

“Getting to use the power tools.”

“Working in the shop, the builders show projects, and working alongside the instructors.”

“The most fun part to me is creating something. Taking raw materials and making something out of it.”

“Being able to go to the PA Home Builders Show 2018.”

“The most fun part in this program is doing something and seeing the finished product.”

“Building things and being out in the shop is the best part.”

“Real life projects and working with Mr. Anderson.”



What is some recent technology you are learning to use in your program that is specific to your profession?

“A transit- which is a level mainly used for surveying and building.”

“Computers for graphing and laying out houses.”

“For us as first years, I would say the circular saws and the miter saws.”


What is your plan for after high school?

“Continue schooling at Penn College for construction management.”

“I would maybe like to go to college for business, and then someday become a self-employed contractor.”

“My plan after high school is to get employed somewhere with a well-paying job.”

“I’m hoping to get a job offer from Lobar Commercial Construction and after a while go and work residential construction.”

“Go to college at Thaddeus Stevens.”

“I plan to do a four year internship at Kinsley Construction.”

“Go right into the job field and start working and making money.”

“My plan is to be able to work in a Carpentry Job, I already have a job lined-up with COR Construction and I’ll probably try to get other trade certifications.”


What is going to be the highlight of the year in your program?

“I believe it will be the PA Home Builder’s Show project.” (This seems to be the most popular response!)

“Being able to come back and show off what I learned from my Co-op job.”

“It will either be the builders show or the projects.”


What are you proud of learning how to do in your program?

“Developing the skills to build anything out of wood.”

“Flooring is one of my biggest ones, but framing is fun because you get to see a house being built.”

“Building a building from the ground up and also learning how to do finishing work.”

“I am proud of learning how to lay out stairs.”


“Learning how to build a duck cope.”

“So far, I am proud of everything I am learning.”

“Learning how to draw a blueprint.”


Explain a typical day in your program.

“A typical day: 1) Timesheet  2) Talk about the essential question  3) Get tools and get to work.”

“Come into the shop and answer the EQ, then go to work on numerous projects on the shop floor.”

“ A typical day starts out with coming into class to do and EQ, followed by an assigned task/ongoing task and then getting out on the shop floor to complete that task.”

“A typical day right now is learning how to make new cuts.”

“We come into class, get changed and do our EQ, Mr. Anderson tells us what we will be working on and then we work.”


program spotlight dec 2017 image 4How is your program at CPAVTS different from other classes you have had in the past?

“Hands-on work that allows you to build physical and mental skills.”

“Carpentry allows to you apply what you learn. It’s hands-on. For example in math I can’t just do a physical thing that helps me understand what I just learned.”

“You have to directly apply what you learn through hands-on actions and you must put forth the effort to succeed.”

“This program will allow me to get a job/career right out of high school.”

“There is nothing you learn in this class, that you didn’t NEED to learn.”

“It is harder to work consistently hard, because the work is more demanding. It is nice to get out of a classroom routine, and work with your hands, doing what you like to do.”

“I think I enjoy it a lot more because the teachers are usually fun and the other students have the same passion as me.”


What advice would you give to a beginning Level 1 student or a student considering enrolling in the program?

“It is physical work and you need to be responsible.”

“Stay focused. Learn and retain as much information and skill as you can.”

“You need to have a good work ethic.”

“My only advice would be to stay on task and don’t goof off.”

“Don’t settle for being lazy! Try your hardest.”

“Pay attention. You need to want to be here, otherwise you’re just taking the spot of someone else who does want to be here.”

“Take pride in your work and work hard!”

“Make sure you try to have good attendance because it is very easy to fall behind.”

“Do everything Mr. Anderson tells you to do, and you will have a good time.”

“You have to be patient and try your best.”

“I would say it is fun, but it is still work! The class can be hard sometimes, so make sure you want to be here.”

“It’s not that hard…as long as you listen to your teacher and follow the rules. It’s a good program if you want to know the right way and the safe way to build a house or anything else.”


Catching Up With… Emily Gopear, Class of ’15 and David Long, Class of ‘11

Emily Gopear: Class of 2015 (Red Land High School,Culinary)Alumni Spotlight- Dec. 2017

Emily Gopear is a 2015 graduate of Red Land high school and CPAVTS’s Culinary Arts Program. She has continued working in the culinary industry since graduating and has continued her education in this area. Emily recently visited CPAVTS to work in the kitchen with current students and share some of her gained expertise from industry. She was gracious enough to give us an update.

Here is what she had to say:

Describe the company or industry in which you currently work.

“I currently work in Culinary Arts at the Hotel Hershey.”


What is your job title and what do you do?

“Full-time apprenticeship. I cook between the Hotel Hershey, Hershey Country Club and the Hershey Lodge.”


What other employment have you had related to your program areas at CPAVTS?

“The Hershey Hotel; a line cook at Harvest, Circular, and Trevi5; and a banquet cook."


What additional education and training did you receive after leaving CPAVTS and where did you receive it?

“I went to the Culinary Institute of America and now I am completing the apprenticeship with Hershey.”


Alumni Spotlight- E. GopearDid you feel CPAVTS prepared you for this?

“Yes, CPAVTS did prepare me for this…I took everything I learned with me.”


How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?

“I got to do something I love and had so much fun doing it!”


What is your favorite CPAVTS memory?

“Getting to compete in the Skills USA Competition.”




David Long: Class of 2011 (Cumberland Valley High School, Culinary)

David Long is a graduate of Cumberland Valley high school and CPAVTS’s Culinary Arts program. Since graduating, he has continued working in his field and recently he visited the classroom to demonstrate some of his cooking skills for current students. He was kind enough to grant us an interview to touch base about where his career has taken him so far.

Here’s what he had to say:

Describe the company or industry in which you currently work.Alumni Spotlight- D. Long

“I currently work at The Hotel Hershey.”


What is your job title and what do you do?

“I am the lead cook in Harvest, which means I work on the cooking line and manage others working with me.”


What other employment have you had related to your program areas at CPAVTS?

“I worked for Bricco of Harrisburg, which is a restaurant.”


What additional education and training did you receive after leaving CPAVTS?

“I went to Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC).”


Did you feel CPAVTS prepared you for this?

“CPAVTS definitely prepared me for the culinary industry.”


How was Cumberland Perry different from your regular high school?

“I was given the opportunity to see the industry first-hand, and was prepared for my career.”


How has your industry changed since your time at Cumberland Perry as far as equipment, technology, etc.

“I was introduced to many new types of equipment and techniques at HACC and The Hotel Hershey. There are all different types of tools used in culinary.”


What is your favorite CPAVTS memory?

“Learning new cooking methods and techniques. Hearing Chef McGrath tell stories about his career.”


Logistics & Warehousing: A Peek Inside the Industry

Last month, we learned about some of the amazing benefits CPAVTS students obtain when they graduate from the Logistics and Warehouse Management program. This month, we are presenting an inside look at an industry that is growing faster than employees can be hired.

A typical warehouse is large, ranging in size from 500,000 to 1.2 million square feet. Some warehouses (particularly those with conveyor systems) can be noisy, and every warehouse is equipped with overhead doors that are used to load and unload delivery trucks.

To keep a warehouse running efficiently, warehouse workers are held to high work standards. Speed and accuracy are the two most important skills needed in this type of job. An employee who can handle the day-to-day routine of shipping, receiving, picking, and packing orders with rapid precision are often rewarded for their hard work. In some warehouses, a single employee may complete anywhere from 800 to 1,000 orders in a single shift! Employees are responsible for the quality of their own work and often work with little to no supervision, letting the results of their work speak for them.

Warehouses are in constant operation, and a typical shift can be five 8-hour days, or four 10-hour days with new employees commonly working on a four-day weekend schedule. The work required of a warehouse employee is not easy. While there is regular use of various kinds of forklifts to move pallets around the building, lifting items weighing up to 75 pounds by hand is also a standard.

The work performed in a warehouse is difficult, but in exchange for that, anyone willing to put in a solid effort can earn a considerable amount of money. Students graduating from CPAVTS leave with the ability to operate the types of forklifts used in a warehouse setting, meaning they can earn about $36,000 per year straight out of high school!

This is only a small glimpse inside a rapidly-growing industry. For more information on the logistics trade and on the Logistics and Warehouse Management program at CPAVTS, visit:







Cooperative Education Spotlight- John Comp

coop spotlight- november 2017

Every morning before 7:00 AM, John Comp pulls into the parking lot at Morrison, Inc in Duncannon to start his school day. He is part of the Cooperative Education program at Cumberland Perry AVTS. As a senior from West Perry High School enrolled in the Diesel Technology program, he chose to cap off his vocational education with rigorous on the job training, and his daily routine varies from one day to the next. Well drilling rigs, skid loaders, excavators, service trucks, and backhoes are all part of his normal work week. Repairing brakes, replacing hydraulic lines, basic welding, and fundamentals of electrical systems are all skills John acquired during his first 2 years at CPAVTS that helped with the transition from school to work; when graduation rolls around in late May, most seniors will be on vacation, or looking for their first career or summer jobs. At the same time, John will be starting his second year of employment with Morrison, Inc. in what will be a long and successful career.