Students Foray into Hydroponics!

1-13-17 HydroponicsHydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil—a process used in a variety of applications, from inner-city farming to small rural farms producing food for restaurants. Recently, the students in Malena Perry’s Horticulture and Landscaping program have installed their own hydroponics system as part of their hands-on instruction.

“You can’t just grow plants in tap water, or they won’t get the nutrients they need,” said Ms. Perry as she explained how the system works.

The students’ hydroponics lab has two tanks, one for fertilizer and one for acid, which are measured constantly by a probe to determine the appropriate levels of each. Then, they are combined and the nutrients are mixed into a stock tank of water so that the plants get everything they need. The system uses approximately 30% less water than standard farming techniques, although the water does need to be cleaned out and replaced periodically to prevent buildup of excess minerals from the fertilizer.

“We can have about 300 plants growing at once,” she said. “It takes about eight weeks from planting to harvest, and we can basically prepare new plants while things are growing and have a constant cycle of plant growth.”

Having a hydroponics lab in the program opens an entirely new career field for Ms. Perry’s students. Not only must students have the mathematical skills needed to operate the system, but they must also learn all of the work it takes to maintain the piping and other parts making everything work properly. If they put in the effort, students can earn jobs in a relatively new industry where there are many opportunities available.

“I never knew how well you could grow plants without soil,” said Austin, a student from Big Spring. “And I never realized how drastically chemicals can affect plant growth or how quickly plants can die from the wrong chemicals!”

The greenhouse holding the system is also fitted with special lighting used to facilitate plant growth. Ms. Perry said. “The lighting is used to trick plants into thinking it’s summer, which prolongs the growing season. Students learn how light waves interact with growing plants and how to use different colors of light to influence plant growth, particularly in the winter.”

Currently, the local industry uses hydroponics to grow leafy vegetables mainly for sale to restaurants (in the case of local farms), or in the inner city where cargo bays from tractor trailers are fitted with “grow lighting” to produce plants practically year-round using the limited space available. So far, Ms. Perry’s students are growing spinach, kale, and herbs (such as parsley and rosemary) which will be given to the Culinary Arts program once the lab is consistently producing plants. 

Cooperative Education Spotlight- Isaac Somerville

Coop Spotlight January 2017

Isaac Somerville started his senior year like many others at Cumberland Perry AVTS, earning an introductory level wage while he participates in the Cooperative Education Program.  Isaac, a student from Trinity High School enrolled in the Automotive Technology program, works for Bruner’s Service Center located on Rt 15 in Enola.  Isaac made a decision as a 9th grader to follow his heart and passion for working on cars and attend CPAVTS.  After 2 years of classroom and hands-on training, the transition from the classroom to the work force was an easy one for Isaac.  Every day brings a new adventure for Isaac.  Change brake pads, replace water pump, turn front rotors, and determine why a car is ‘missing’ are all part of a typical work week for Isaac.  He will be returning to CPAVTS several days a week next month to obtain his PA State Inspection and Emissions License.  Isaac plans to continue his education next fall as well as put his skill set to work at Bruner’s.  Isaac’s career plan is well on its way to being a success!

Rotary Students of the Month- February 2017

SOM January 2017


Ben Sedlak is a Redland High School Student, in the Automotive Technology Program. He is a volunteer Firefighter. He is currently employed as an Express Service Tech at Brenner Nissan. He plans to follow his career at CPAVTS at UTI Technical School. He is planning to major in Auto Technology to continue his education and advancement in the field. 


Emerald O'Brien is a Northern York High School Student, in the Cosmetology Program. She is a member of SkillsUSA, CPAVTS and serves as the treasurer of her chapter. She is also a CPAVTS Student Ambassador. She is a volunteer for Beauty After Bruises. She is employed as a housekeeper at Ski Roundtop. She is also an assistant for Josephine Love Beauty. She plans to follow her career at CPAVTS by applying to Tom Savini SFX at Douglas Education Center and major in Special Effects Make-Up.


Randy Hornberger is a Mechanicsburg High School Student, in the Culinary Program. He is currently employed at Hoss's on the Gettysburg Pike. He plans to apply Harrisburg Area Community College and Johnson and Wales University. He plans to continue his education in his program area, by majoring in Culinary and becoming a Chef or a Cook at a restaurant. 


Catching Up With...James Geedy, Class of '87 and Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

James Geedy, Class of 1987, Redland High School, Graphic Communications Program

Alumni spotlight january 2017

Rich Hoffner, Class of 1985, West Perry High School, Graphic Communications Program

 James Geedy (Pictured Right) is a 1987 graduate, of Redland High School and also CPAVTS's Graphic Communications Program and Rich Hoffner (not pictured) is a 1985 graduate, of West Perry High School and CPAVTS's Graphic Communications Program.

Rich  and James were gracious enough to take some time and let us know what they been up to following their time at CPAVTS. We were curious what area of Graphic Communications they ended up in and how the industry has changed since their days of instruction. 


Describe the company or industy in which you currently work.

"Dauphin County Library System."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"Commericial mid size printing company."- James Geedy, Class of '87


What is your job title and what do you do?                                                                                                                    

"Print and Mailing Services Manager."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"CEO-Founder of Hot Frog Print Media...manage-management."- James Geedy, Class of '87


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

"Rite Aid Corportation, PA School Board Association and Signal Graphics."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"Stayed in other local area printing companies."- James Geedy, Class of '87


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

"I received an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Arts, at Community College in the Williamsport Area of PA."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '87

"No additional, well prepared at CPAVTS."- James Geedy, Class of '87


How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?

"I was able to put my education to work to earn money."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"Taught me the trade of course."- James Geedy, Class of '87


How has your industry changed since your time at CPAVTS?

"Digitial Equipment."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"1987- Digital Printing has evoloved- Digita Verable Data."- James Geedy, Class of '87


What is your favorite CPAVTS Memory?

"My Instructor, George Ebersole."- Rich Hoffner, Class of '85

"Mr. E."- James Geedy, Class of '87


Program Spotlight- Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Program at CPAVTS has a lot to offer to students who want to pursue a career in law enforcement.Program Spotlight- Criminal Justice

The curriculum in this class, taught by Instructor, Bill Page for the last 25 years, offers key industry related experience to help students set themselves apart from the masses. Students are given knowledge of the criminal justice system, crime scene investigating, traffic control...and countless other areas that apply to industry. 

We have taken time to Q & A with our Instructor and one of his top students to get their interpretation of what is most important in the class.


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

"I got my first freshman students."- Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor


Instructor: How many years have you been at CPAVTS and what was your experience before coming here?

"25 years at CPAVTS, I worked in a halfway house for prisoners and Loss prevention at several stores. I was a full-time police officer for 16 years; field training officer. I have an AA in Police Science and a BS in Law Enforcement."- Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor


Student: Summarize what you learn in your program in one sentence.

"We learn the Criminal Justice System, crime scene investigation and traffic."- Criminal Justice Student


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

"Understanding of certain concepts and the terminology."- Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor


Student: What is the hardest part of your program?

"Learning the proper methods to successfully complete a practical skill. (for example: fingerprinting)."- Criminal Justice Student


Instructor: What are some more recent career pathways students take when they leave CPAVTS?

"Military; College; and then Enter into professions, such as: corrections, security and police force."- Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor


Student: What is your plan for after high school? 

"I plan on attending Harrisburg Area Community College for Nursing and furthering my career from Nursing to be a forensic pathologist assistant."- Criminal Justice Student


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

"The basic abilities of forensics, but more importantly, report writing and filling out forms."-Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor


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

"FACES- computer based composite drawing and SUPERGLUE- fumigation for latent fingerprinter."- Bill Page/CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor

"The FACES program we use on the computer."- Criminal Justice Student


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

"Safety Day! Criminal Justice organizes and runs safety day."- Criminal Justice Student

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

"Fingerprinting, handcuffing, searching and dusting for prints."- Criminal Justice Student


Student: How is your program at CPAVTS different from other classes you have had in the past? Can you give some examples?

"It is more hands-on and in-depth. You learn one subject that you will be using in your everyday life in some way."- Criminal Justice Student


Student: What is the most fun part of your program?

"The hands-on skills we learn, like handcuffing, searching and fingerprinting."- Criminal Justice Student


Student: What advice would you give to a beginning level 1 student who is just starting the program or students considering enrolling in the program?

"Pay attention, try your best and have fun! You'll become a different and better person in here. You'll made meaningful, new friendships and the time will fly by faster than you think."- Criminal Justice Student


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

"Continue your studies no matter what career you choose."- Bill Page/ CPAVTS Criminal Justice Instructor