Advocacy Day: Students Reach Out to Legislators about Career and Tech Ed
The greatest supporters Cumberland Perry AVTS could possibly have are its students—for who else is as involved in our programs as the students enrolled in them? CPAVTS utilizes student volunteers for as many outreach initiatives as possible, including its Student Ambassador program (which sends CPAVTS students to their home districts to speak with their peers about the opportunities at Cumberland Perry), but one of the most important of these is the annual excursion to the Capitol: Advocacy Day, a trip to Harrisburg where students have the rare opportunity of meeting their legislators face-to-face.
Said Justin Bruhn, the school Administrative Director, of the trip: “It is important for our legislators to see our students and hear their success stories. Career and Technical Education is a vital component of our schools and communities, and it’s great to see our legislators recognize these students and the impact of the programs at Cumberland Perry.”
This trip has been a tradition for the past three years. Not only is it a great way for students to show their support of their school, but it also gets them involved in their community—and the students always come away with a memorable and positive experience.
“It was awesome!” said John, a Welding student from Big Spring School District. “It was interesting to see the politics of schooling, which I never really knew.”
John, along with several other CPAVTS students, spent the day meeting with Representatives Delozier, Rothman, and Bloom; and with Senator Eichelberger to discuss why career and technical education is important to them and act as advocates, not just for their school, but for CTE schools as a whole.
“I have to say my favorite part was getting to talk to our representatives face to face,” said Victoria from East Pennsboro, a Carpentry student who also participated in the trip. “It was a lot of fun, but it also felt great contributing to making legislators aware of what’s going on here.”
Some additional photos from the trip:
Students Help Improve School Facilities While Learning Their Trade
Hands-on work is a major part of every CPAVTS program, but working in a lab setting, as demonstrated by Cumberland Valley student Brandon to the right, still isn’t the same as a real work environment. As the other programs do, the students in Jason Baney’s Electrical Construction and Maintenance program have found creative ways to get real-world experience—and have been helping their school in the process.
Over the past few years, ECM students have assisted with various repairs and projects on school grounds. Recently, they completed the electric work for a new exhaust fan in the Welding program and changed the lighting in the level one Nursing classroom.
“Everything I do in class is in a controlled environment, and there’s only so much I can teach them in the lab.” said Mr. Baney, “But when I send them into the school to work, they have to think on their feet.”
Other projects that the students have assisted with include installing lighting in the Horticulture greenhouses; installing the x-ray machine in Dental Assisting; running electricity for the exhaust systems in Cosmetology and Masonry; running the wiring for the exterior school doors near Early Childhood Education; and running electricity for both the new CNC machine in the Precision Machine Technology lab area and for two new car lifts in Automotive Technology.
Said Colby, another Cumberland Valley student, of his experience in the program: “When we work in the classroom, it’s not the same as the situations we face outside. In the shop, we deal with simple problems, but outside the shop, we run wiring longer and deal with pipes that aren’t perfectly cut—we deal with more complex problems that can’t be simulated in the lab.”
There are many other projects that Mr. Baney’s students have already completed, and he is constantly on the lookout for more opportunities where they can help out around the building. The students also installed the charging station in the parking lot outside their classroom—you can read more about that project here!
Students Foray into Hydroponics!
Hydroponics 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
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
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.