A New Curriculum Teaches Key Lessons while Making a Difference

2014-03-11 LOG Firstbook 1When Joe Knouse, instructor for Cumberland Perry AVTS’s Logistics and Warehousing program, learned about Firstbook, he didn’t hesitate to get on board. Not only does the program provide some key components for his students’ training, it also goes toward a good cause.

Firstbook is a nonprofit organization created in 1992 by Kyle Zimmer. During its 21 years serving underprivileged students across the U.S. and Canada, Firstbook has distributed over 100 million books to 90,000 schools and programs. However, the program wouldn’t have gotten this far without its many supporters willing to lend a hand.

“Their goal is to distribute free books to children in need,” Knouse said. “They have a small office in Washington, D.C. They don’t have a warehouse, forklifts...so they send the books to school warehousing programs willing to store and ship them for free.”

Programs like the Logistics programs at CPAVTS provide a necessary component to Firstbook’s success, but in return they receive valuable experiences to add to their post-graduation resumes. Students learn how to inventory, measure the size of the books, label the shipments correctly, pull orders from the shelves, and ship them to their destinations. “There’s only so much you can learn through simulation,” Knouse said. “And this program will teach students how to actually carry out an order from receiving it in the warehouse to shipping it through UPS.”

For the moment, Knouse’s students are supporting underprivileged children in the West Perry elementary school with this first shipment; in the future, they plan to work with Harrisburg schools, some of which have a dire need for these reading materials.

“We wanted to partner with the Mechanicsburg library as well, but this shipment didn’t fit the [Firstbook] program parameters. There are specific guidelines concerning who can receive books, and they need to go to children in need,” Mr. Knouse said.

Firstbook’s goal is to eradicate illiteracy in North America. As a result, their books are donated to children who receive free or reduced lunches at school; children who meet HHS, state, or federal poverty guidelines; students who have disabilities; or children who meet a variety of other factors that could impact their access to books. To ensure that Firstbook is able to verify eligibility, registration is done through schools, churches, or other programs instead of through individual parents and families.

Visit Firstbook’s website at www.firstbook.org for more information on donating, volunteering, fundraising, receiving books, or on the organization itself.

Program Spotlight - Diesel Technology

Program Spotlight – Diesel Technology

Cody Barrick and Tom Wolfe are CPAVTS’ Diesel Technology instructors. Mr. Barrick teaches 1st year students while Mr. Wolfe instructs students in their 2nd and 3rd years in the program. Mr. Barrick is a graduate of CPAVTS and a former student of Mr. Wolfe! While a student here, he worked for Keen Transport through the cooperative education program. After graduation, Mr. Barrick attended The Pennsylvania College of Technology, where he received his Associate’s Degree in Diesel Technology. Mr. Barrick continued working for Keen and was promoted to foreman before coming back to CPAVTS as an instructor. He is in his second year as an instructor and has 10 years’ worth of experience as a truck mechanic.   Mr. Wolfe earned a certificate in Diesel Mechanics at Williamsport Area Community College and has worked as a truck and trailer mechanic, shop foreman, and manager. He is an ASE certified Master Truck Technician and Master Truck Equipment Technician and holds an advanced electronic engine diagnostics certification.

Read more: Program Spotlight - Diesel Technology

Rotary Students of the Month - March


Nicole Pasquel is a Mechanicsburg Area High School student enrolled in the Advertising Art & Design program. She is vice-President of the National Technical Honor Society and performs volunteer work for SkillsUSA. She is an active member and volunteer for the Mechanicsburg Immanuel church. Nicole would like to travel and study in Scotland before returning to the United States to study Business Management.

Charles Snavely is an East Pennsboro High School student enrolled in the Criminal Justice program at Cumberland Perry. He

Read more: Rotary Students of the Month - March

Cooperative Education Spotlight - Devin Foster

Devin, a Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School Electronics Technology student, works on disassembling computer components for partnering employer, PC Parts. He was given this opportunity through the collaboration between the employer who agreed to take a part time student, TechBridge who offered a paid work experience, his home school who provide transportation, and an outside agency who provided a temporary job coach to help him adjust to the world of work. As of today, Devin has successfully learned the job and is increasing his speed daily to meet production goals. The employer is very pleased and has already stated they are likely to hire him on after the paid work experience.

New Employee Spotlight-Nancy Reitzel, Child Care Instructor

2014-03-06 Nancy Reitzel Employee Highlight

This November, Cumberland Perry AVTS was proud to welcome Nancy Reitzel to its family of educators as the new Child Care and Guidance Instructor. This week we're featuring a short interview with Mrs. Reitzel about the short time she has spent at the school:

What were you doing before you came to Cumberland Perry?

"I was a substitute teacher for East Pennsboro and West Shore school districts and I was working on my master's degree in early childhood education at Shippensburg University."

What made you decide to apply to CPAVTS?

"I taught preschool for years, and I'm a music teacher. Being able to combine the work I've done in childcare and teaching is an awesome opportunity!"

Is there anything specifically you're seeking to teach your students?

"Yes! I want my students to understand how important their work is--how important the preschool age is. At this stage, children are gaining the building blocks for the future, and with a quality preschool education they can function better later in life. Everything is so important, I need my students to understand how important they are and how important their education is."

What has been your favorite thing about working as the Child Care and Guidance Instructor so far?

"I love it when the preschoolers are here, and I love it when the students have well-planned lessons prepared for the day. When the students' faces light up like 'I did it!' and when the children are thinking, 'Wow, that was awesome!', [I feel like] there's no better job in the world!"

Thanks to Mrs. Reitzel for taking the time to answer a few questions! We hope to have her teaching with us for years to come!