Finding Creative Ways to Solve Common Problems

Cumberland Perry AVTS’s goal for its students is that the skills they learn in their programs will serve them both on and off the job. Cumberland Valley student Nick Wagner is a fantastic example of this very sentiment with his recent contribution to the recent FFA State and National Competitions. Nick has worked on a dairy farm since he was young and now incorporates the skills he’s learned in the Welding program into his work; his employer’s wife introduced him to the organization and he’s been participating through Cumberland Valley High School ever since.

“I joined the competition because I figured it would help me learn and help my school,” said Nick. “The FFA did a science fair and I incorporated welding into mine.”

Nick entered the FFA Agriscience Fair with his stick welding project, which tested different amperages on different types of metal rods to assess which would be the ideal rod to use in the widest variety of situations. Just a couple weeks ago, he went to the national competition after his project was selected as a finalist at the state level.

Said Nick, “They chose 15 projects to compete nationally and mine was one of them. I don’t know the results yet, but I know I’m at least in the top 15!”

Nick is a fantastic example of a student working hard and taking the skills they’ve learned to the next level by finding new ways to solve real-world problems. CPAVTS is proud to have Nick as one of our students, and we can’t wait to see where the future will take him!




Program Spotlight- Graphic Communications

Teacher Spotlight- Mr. Atticks


What is the most significant new or different aspect to your program this year?program spotlight-november 2017

“Working with the Large Format Printer for banners, cling-ons etc.”


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

“Technology in our field has become more and more digital. Customers are requesting jobs with lower quantities and color. Students must review files and formats to complete this work.”


Explain a typical day in your program.

“Many times throughout the year, students have projects they are working on. This also provides teachable moments for the students.”


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

“Employers seek students who are detail-oriented and have good trouble-shooting skills.”


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

“There are many who go on to a two year trade school or begin work in an entry level position with small to large graphics shops.”


What unit/topic do students struggle with the most in your program? Why do you think that is?

“Measuring. I am not sure why, but if I had to take an educated guess, I’d say that they learn measuring early in school, but then don’t spend more time on it or practice it regularly.”


How many years have you been at CPAVTS? What was your experience before coming here to teach?

“Thirty years. I graduated from Dauphin County AVTS, and went to work for ITT Terryphone, in their in-house printing area. I then went to Innovative Ink to work in the quick print world. I learned how small businesses operate. Following my time there, I took a job at the Hummelstown Sun Newspaper, supervising the printing department.  Before coming to CPAVTS, I worked for the Democratic House of Representatives Printing Department.”


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

“They should always continue to learn. It is important, especially in our field with creative upgrades of software and machinery.”


Student Spotlight


Summarize what you learn in your program in one sentence.

“In my shop, I learn the ins and outs of digital and offset printing.”

“How to operate presses and use computer programs for design purposes.”

“We learn about graphic design, printing, and how to take care of customers.”


What is the hardest part of your program?


“The Folding Machine and the collating.”

“Measuring and math.”


What is the most fun part of your program?

“Designing digital files.”

“Working on and designing business cards.”


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

“I have been using Illustrator and IN Design, to create ads.”

“Working on a Two Color Ink Press.”

“The Industrial Laminator and the Vinyl Printer.”


What is your plan for after high school?

“Plan A- I would go to Thaddeus Stevens College, if I am accepted or Plan B- I would apply for a job in the printing industry.”

“Enter the workforce by getting a job at Hot Frog.”

“Apply and hopefully get accepted into the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design.”


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

“Working with the Wide Format Printer.”

 “I would like to design a banner and create a 3D object.”

“When we do our next lesson on Photography and Photoshop.”

“Making banners on the new machine.”


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

“That I am learning to perform a public service.”

“To finally be able to work well at operating a Press Machine.”

“Designing and making ads and business cards, especially the cards for my school.”


Explain a typical day in your program.

“Working with the press, working with copy center jobs and designing ads.”

“Design daily/weekly ads, assist others on projects, and help run print jobs at the Copy Center, for the entire school.”


How is your program at CPAVTS different from other classes you have had in the past?

“It is a more hands-on atmosphere. The tasks you perform create things.”

“You work hands-on and you manage projects on your own time.”

“Learning how to use the machinery is essential to working on the assignments/projects.”


What advice would you give to a beginning Level 1 student who is just starting the program or to a student who is considering enrollment?

“Don’t ever fall behind on your work. Deadlines matter.”

“I hope you are good with computers and machinery. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.”

“There is always room for improvement.”

“Come with creativity and a basic understanding of math and measurement, because you will need both; be a hard worker.”



 spotlight- graphics november 2017

 Step-By-Step process one Graphic Communications student used, to create Invitation Cards for the Open House event this year.

By: Becky


“The first thing I did when designing the Open House Cards, was to look at the card from the previous year. I used it for reference. For continuity, I stuck with a similar design, while making quite a few revisions to make it my own.”


“When I had the card design and layout exactly how I wanted it, it was time to make copies. I used a Two Color Press using CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK) ink colors to print.” (9000 Copies)


“After printing, it’s time to cut the copies, and then proceed to mailing where we place addresses on them. I used a Mailing Machine to stamp addresses on the cards. The cards were then mailed to all current students at CPAVTS, and all students potentially interested in attending CPAVTS in the next few years.”

Catching Up With...Clay Durham, Class of '92

Clay Durham: Class of 1992 (Susquenita High School, Data Processing)alumni spotlight- nov 2017

Clay is a graduate of Susquenita High School and a discontinued CPAVTS program, Data Processing, which has given way to the Computer Programming and Computer Networking courses. Clay has been quite busy advancing in his field within the healthcare industry. He took the time out of his busy schedule to give us some details of where his education has led him in life so far.

Here is what he had to say:

Describe the company or industry in which you currently work.

“I work for Aetna, which is a health insurance company.”

What is your job title and what do you do?

“I set up our system to process medical claims, and process customer (Member and Provider) inquiries in our computer system.”

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

“In 1993, I started as a temporary data entry person for Highmark. I was hired full-time after six months. I worked my way up to Claims and Customer Service, and in 1998, when my company was sold, I moved to Health America/Coventry Health Care and maxed out my Claims/Customer Service positions. I posted for a position in Contract Management, programming contract logic; when Coventry was purchased by Aetna in 2013, I posted to a similar position in Aetna, by using their computer system.”

”Basically, you should never lose sight of your passion. Find a way to do what you like—even if it means doing something you don’t like first. You need to make the connections and learn as much as you can to become valuable and trustworthy. You have to be worth the chance an employer gives you, and then do everything you can to succeed beyond their expectations.”

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

“I took advantage of learning opportunities in the companies I worked for and learned everything I could about my jobs. The most important thing you can do is understand what you are doing, not just do it. I always look for improvement, and I try to make myself as valuable as possible. I try to never say no, but instead ask how to do something.”

How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?

“I was not a good student; I could not stand school. I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to program. If you learn what you like/love, it makes things so much easier. I also was able to work half a day my senior year through the Co-Op Program, and I worked with the PA Department of Agriculture doing data entry. I was making money and gaining experience that I could put on a resume while my friends were in a classroom.”

How has your industry changed since your time at Cumberland Perry?

“I started working on mainframe computers. I learned RPGII and COBOL at CPAVTS, but after Y2K the opportunities for COBOL died. The logic and the problem solving was still the same. I have been programming claim payment logic since 2003, and I now work at home via the internet. My boss is in Arizona and my team is spread out across the country.”

What is your favorite CPAVTS memory?

“The pancake eating contest that we did for some charity—I forget which charity, but it was fun.”

November 2017- Rotary Students of the Month

Kim-Duyen Phan is a Red Land High School student in the Cosmetology Program. She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) at CPAVTS, and she participates in the Orchestra at Red Land High School; she has also made Student of the Quarter and Honor Roll at CPAVTS. Kim-Duyen plans to attend Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) to study Business Administration.

Victor Genao is a Newport High School student in the Automotive Technology Program. He is a Cooperative Education student at CPAVTS, employed by Hoffman Ford in Harrisburg, and he also made Student of the Quarter and Honor Roll at CPAVTS. He plans to attend the Pennsylvania College of Technology, Ford Asset Program.

Samantha Belz is a Cedar Cliff High School student in the Advertising, Art and Design Program. She is a member of the Cedar Cliff Environmental Club, participates in cheerleading at her home school, is a volunteer at New Hope Ministries, and volunteers at the Breast Cancer Awareness walk for Strides at City Island. Samantha also made Student of the Quarter and Honor Roll at CPAVTS. She plans to continue her education at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) for Graphic Design. 

Logistics & Warehousing: The Face of Cumberland County's Future

Nestled within a three-hour drive of four major U.S. cities, Cumberland County is a major hub for the transportation industry, and as a result, the warehousing industry has become one of the key contributors to the area’s rapid development. Trucks haul goods to their destinations, but without warehouses (and people to keep them organized!) the shipping process would be impossible.

But not just anyone can drive a forklift—you need a special certification for that!—and a trained individual to quickly navigate a warehouse so that items can be picked, packaged, and prepared for delivery in a timely manner. A recent article from the Central Penn Business Journal cited the rise of e-commerce as a major factor in the industry’s growth; combined with central Pennsylvania’s proximity to cities like New York and Washington, D.C., it makes for a perfect strategic location for processing and distributing shipments of goods.

The students in Joe Knouse’s Logistics and Warehouse Management class learn the ins and outs of a warehouse by working in a real one. They store and manage shipments for the entire school, and when it’s time to distribute those items, they know exactly how to use the systems warehouses across the state use to keep track of inventory—and they know their way around a forklift.

“If you are able to operate a forklift, you will never be out of a job in Cumberland County,” said Mr. Knouse. “And there are plenty of openings in my program for kids who want to get out of the classroom and do some hands-on work!”

It’s not a glamorous job, but students graduating from CPAVTS’s Logistics and Warehousing program can make over $15.00 per hour as a forklift operator! And since they are qualified to perform these jobs directly after high school, they can put their skills to work funding their goals—whether they want to earn a college degree or save up for another personal pursuit.

Mr. Knouse’s program is an excellent choice for any student who wants to get away from the standard high school experience and learn some real-world skills—and for some, like Colin (a student from Cumberland Valley), the experience surprised them:

“I decided to come here [to Logistics] because it seemed like the only option since I had two years left of high school. But now I’m really glad that I did! I was nervous at first, but it’s turned out to be a lot of fun!”

A cursory search of (a popular job search site) alone reveals posts for approximately 470 warehouse jobs—about 180 of which are advertising for forklift operators. If that isn’t enough evidence for how in-demand such employees are, the Sentinel recently published its top 50 employers and top 50 industries in Cumberland County. Of the employers, Amazon and Giant Food Stores were in the top three, and of the industries, warehousing was listed as number one.

Local employers are clamoring for skilled employees in the logistics and warehousing industry, and right now there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them. What that means is a high school student with the right skills is all but guaranteed a well-paying job right after graduation—and Mr. Knouse is ready to teach those skills to any student that wants to learn!