Program Spotlight- Horticulture & Landscaping

Instructor Malena Perry continues to advance her program area into the future.program spotlight- march 2018

The Arboretum began and will continue to be added to for future generations. Hydroponics & Aeroponics take off in the greenhouse, sending plant growth to new heights!

We asked Mrs. Perry to kindly take the time out of her busy schedule, following this year’s PA Builder’s Show, to enlighten us on the importance of this trade.

Here is what she had to say:


Teacher Spotlight- Malena Perry

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

“We have started new garden towers, which introduced aeroponics to our program.”


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

“Work for local landscapers, florists, and some go to further their education at Penn College and Temple.”


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

“Understanding how plants function, being able to identify plants and how to use them.”


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

“Sustainable horticulture and using hydroponics. Also the use of biochar and the many applications of charcoal.”


What unit/topic do students struggle with the most in your program and why?

“Botanical names of plants is probably the most difficult for students, and that is because Latin is difficult for anyone!”


Explain a typical day in your program?

“There really isn’t a typical day, we are always trying something new.

How many years have you been at CPAVTS?

“19 years.”

What was your experience before coming to CPAVTS?

“I am a vocational education graduate, from Franklin County, class of 1992. I went to Penn State and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in AGED. I worked at Plasterer’s Florist in Chambersburg through a co-op program, and I continued working with them through college, as well as during holidays while I was teaching.”


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

“Never give up, and always work hard.”



Student Spotlight- Mason Kelley

Summarize what you learn in your program in one sentence.

“I learn how to care for people and the plants that we offer.”


What is the hardest part of your program?

“The hardest part is plant and tree identification.”


What is the most fun part of your program?

“The most fun part is that we have the best teacher and learn skills hands-on.”


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

“Recent technology would be the hydroponics and aquaponics systems. Controlling the PH level and mineral/vitamin numbers.”


What is your plan for after high school?

“My plan after high school it to go work for Good’s Tree & Lawn Care in Harrisburg, as a tree climber/arborist.”


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

“The highlight of my year was most definitely the PA Home Builder’s Show.”


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

“I am proud of learning how to work with others in different ways. Things such as customer service, and growth and maintenance of plants.”


Explain a typical day in your program?

“Water all plants within the greenhouse, pull weeds in the greenhouse, and work with our planting towers or ongoing projects. We also help Mrs. Perry to complete flower orders.”


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

“It is a small class, which unfortunately is the result of people losing interest in pursuing this trade. Working within this field gives me motivation to enlighten others of the importance of this trade. The one-on-one training is a great opportunity.”


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

“Always have an open mind when you join. Be ready to work every trade, because we do almost every shop in one class. Be respectful and kind to others, and always work hard.”

Students Collaborate for a Greener Environment and Healthy Eating!

With warmer weather approaching, what better way to cool off and be healthy than with a refreshing salad? The students in the Culinary Arts program are practicing their salad and dressing-making techniques—but not without the help of the Horticulture program!

Through their hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic growing systems, the students in Malena Perry’s program are practicing sustainable agriculture, and the results are delicious! They have grown lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, various herbs, and many more types of produce; when the plants are ripe, they provide some of the spoils to the Culinary Arts program, where they are turned into ingredients.

“We start growing new seeds while the others are still saplings so that we keep a rotation, and it takes about two and a half months for a crop to mature from seed to plant,” said Mrs. Perry.

Utilizing plants grown in-house drastically reduces the carbon footprint generated by having produce shipped, often times from across the country. Even better: The produce is fresher and of a higher quality!

“It’s kind of hard at the beginning to set it up and get it working,” said Grant, a student in Mrs. Perry’s class, “but once you get the minerals and nutrients in place the plants grow pretty quickly—and it’s great knowing that others in the building can get use out of them!”

Each of the three systems used in Horticulture and Landscaping are sustainable, green crop growing systems. So while the students in Mrs. Perry’s class are learning how to care for the environment, the students in Chef McGrath’s program are learning how wonderful it is to work with produce that’s as fresh as it could possibly get:

“I think you can trust the produce [from Horticulture] better than what you get from a supplier because you know who grew it and can just go talk to them if you have questions or a problem,” said Hailey, a Culinary Arts student. “It’s fresher because it was grown here.”

So far, the students have mostly used lettuce grown by their peers, but they have also enjoyed working with herbs, Concord grapes, and a few other crops. It’s a practice that both programs hope to continue and expand upon in the years to come!

March 2018- Rotary Students of the Month

march 2018 soms

Brianna Rhoades is a Big Spring High School student in the Early Childhood Education Program. She has previously been a part of Big Spring’s volleyball and softball teams, and she participates in the annual powder puff game and a traveling softball team. She currently works at UPS (United Parcel Service), as a package handler. At CPAVTS, she has made the Honor Roll list; Brianna plans to follow her education at CPAVTS by attending Shippensburg University.

Elwood Yohe is a Big Spring High School student in the Automotive Collision Technology Program, and a member of NTHS (National Technical Honor Society) at CPAVTS. He is a cooperative education student employed with Brenner Nissan; he is also employed by BBs Grocery Store. Elwood has made Honor Roll and been named Student of the Quarter, at CPAVTS, and upon graduation, he plans to attend HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) to study Welding.

Helena Palm is a West Perry High School student in the Nursing Assisting Program. She is a member of both SkillsUSA and HOSA (Health Students of America) at CPAVTS; serves as a CPAVTS Ambassador for future and potential students; earned Honor Roll and Student of the Quarter; and is part of the National Society of High School Scholars. She spends her spare time volunteering at a deer farm and helping a retired wounded veteran. Helena plans to attend HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) to attain her Nursing, RN.

Advertising Art Student Accepted into Pre-College Program!

The students in CPAVTS’s Advertising Art and Design program are capable of some amazing things—from winning first place in Graphic Design the past two years at the High School Computer Fair, to winning first place in the Students for Strides t-shirt design contest several years in a row (and counting!), and producing designs for a variety of clients. Recently, Kayla (a student from East Pennsboro) added to this growing list of achievements by gaining acceptance into the Pre-College Art and Design Residency Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art!

Kayla’s impressive portfolio (she is posing with some of her pieces at left) earned her a spot in a 2-week program focused on figure drawing—and her initiative also resulted in a scholarship covering part of the cost for the program.

“I was thinking about attending MICA already, so it will be a good experience to see what dorms are like, how the commute is, and what life on campus is like in general,” said Kayla.

CPAVTS would like to congratulate Kayla on her achievement, and on the hard work and dedication to her studies that led her there!








Cooperative Education Spotlight-Victor Genao

coop spotlight- feb. 2018

Victor Genao finished his junior year like most high school students, wondering where he was going to work for the summer; being enrolled in the Automotive Technology program made the decision of what he wanted to do much easier. He landed a position with Hoffman Ford in Harrisburg thanks to the two years of classroom training he obtained at CPAVTS and Dauphin County Technical School. Victor worked all summer and then rolled his part time job into a Cooperative Education position this school year, attending his classes at Newport every morning and then arriving at Hoffman Ford at noon.  Once he is at work, he reports to his bay and gets his work orders for the day: Rotating tires, changing oil, assisting with safety inspections, and performing general car repairs are all part of his normal routine, and Victor takes every job seriously, as though it were his own vehicle. He plans to continue his work experience with Hoffman through the summer and then attend Penn College in the fall.  Victor’s desire and motivation make him the successful technician he is today and a model employee in all future endeavors.