“It was GREAT!”
Triplett Tech‘s Summer Academy gave more than sixty Shenandoah County seventh and eighth grade middle school students the opportunity to experience career and technical programs offered at Triplett. As early as the seventh grade, Virginia’s students must develop a career path. Triplett’s Summer Academy may have helped students with that path -- with the difficult decision of “what do you want to be when you grow up.”
Connie Pangle, principal at Triplett Tech, was researching other career and technical schools when she read about a similar program offered in Rockingham County. “It was such a good idea,” said Ms. Pangle. “I thought - we can do this at Triplett We just have to figure out how to finance it.” She and Katie Rice, Supervisor of STEM and Career and Technical Education, applied for a grant from the Helen Moore Educational Trust. Their endeavor was a success.
“This has been a great week,” said Ms. Pangle. “Students have been so busy, so engaged in activities, that they haven’t noticed the time.”
“Great” was the word many students used to describe their experiences in Automotive Technology, Carpentry, Collision Repair, Culinary Arts, Cyber Security, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, and Health Care.
Lucas Long, Automotive Technology teacher, reported that “Most of his middle school students were trained on engine and vehicle maintenance. Other students with some background in the area of auto mechanics were trained on cylinder head inspection and service.” Both Trevor Guzman and Logan Hammons, students from Peter Muhlenberg, had a “great time” with Mr. Long’s challenge. We’ve never been “this deep into engine repair” they said.
“I knew absolutely nothing [about technology],” said Marian Schechtel, who was enrolled in the Cyber Security Class. “Absolutely nothing, “ she repeated. “Now,” Marion added with a laugh, “I know something!” Marion, who plans to be a doctor, said the topic of Cyber Security piqued her interest and so she enrolled. Students in Cyber Security explored multiple topics. They created a network, explored the strength of their passwords, created a Caesar cipher or code, built and programmed robots, and explored artificial intelligence. Teacher John Davis reminded the students that a computer is only as smart as its user.
John Grim and his students in Paint and Refinish (Collision Repair) share a love for cars. Their faces just lit-up and there were big smiles as they responded to the question -- why are you taking this class? The response was unanimous --I love cars! For their challenge, each of his students was given a dented panel. Their assignment was to hammer and dolly the dents and then fill the dents with body filler. Next, they primed, sanded, and painted their panels. The final touch-- students made the panel their own with a custom design.
"It's been a great time,” said Paje Cross, teacher and chef for Triplett Tech’s Culinary Arts program. “Students have been trying new things and seeing how they work.” Each day featured a different theme or topic: Italian pizza on Monday; breakfast foods on Tuesday; Wednesday was Taste of theOlympics’ day and included egg rolls from China, beans and rice from Puerto Rico, and fairy bread from Australia; on Thursday students baked cookies and scones, and decorated individual,small cakes. Friday’s event was a backyard barbeque for students and parents as a part of the academy’s open house. Julia Biller, who doesn’t know if she wants to be a pastry chef or a doctor, didn’t have a favorite day. “They were all equally fun,” she said. Along with the food and fun, students washed dishes, mopped the floors, and did the laundry. “I ran this like a real kitchen,” commented Ms. Cross. (Photo left: Culinary Arts)
Barry Arey’s carpentry students built and painted or stained bird houses.and bird feeders Along the way, they used a miter saw, a power sander, a band saw, and practiced safety skills. “They did a heck of a job,” said Mr. Arey. Middle school students Jack and Will Garber enrolled in the class because their grandfather Chip Belyea, a leader in special education in Shenandoah County and in Virginia, had worked in carpentry during the summers while he was in high school. He still does odd jobs for neighbors, said Jack. Both Garber boys felt they were learning practical skills. One of Mr. Arey’s students explained that at the beginning of the week he wasn’t very excited or interested in this class; but by the end of the week, he said, “I really enjoyed carpentry. and I am so glad that I took the class.”
All of the students enrolled in Sharon Clark’s Health Care Sciences course planned a health-related career. During their week of learning about the human body, these students actually earned First Aid certification, CPR certification for adults and infants. and AED certification for adults. These certifications are good for 2 years, explained Ms. Clark. During their focus on the skeletal system, students looked at xrays and casted their “broken” fingers. When they studied the cardiovascular system, students listened to their own heartbeat and tested their resting and active heart rates Taste tests were a part of the nutrition study. Students sampled thickened liquids and foods that were gluten free, fat free, pureed, and mechanical soft. Students agreed that their Health Care academy experience provided confirmation for their decision to pursue a medical career path.
Members of the Woodstock Police Department worked as a team with other area law enforcement agencies to provide instruction for the Criminal Justice Summer Academy course at Triplett Tech. “We tried to give an overview of criminal justice,” said Laura Shelton, Accreditation Manager for the Woodstock Police Department. Throughout the week, hands-on activities were an emphasis, Students learned about careers, the levels of the court system, law enforcement, probation, and parole. Students visited the Emergency Communication Center (dispatch) and the Shenandoah County Court House where members of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s office led them on a tour. Students sat in traffic court for about 30 minutes.
Corporal Keith Staffa and Lieutenant Aaron Pattie taught students about patrol techniques. Students were put in handcuffs and wore bullet proof vests and an officer’s duty belt--minus the gun. To experience first-hand the danger of driving under the influence, students wore goggles that simulated drunk driving and, under the supervision of Corporal Staffa and Lieutenant Pattie, attempted to drive a pedal go-cart provided by the New Market Police Department. Virginia State Trooper Matt Hand and his drug dog demonstrated a drug search. Stuart Leake, an investigator with the Woodstock Police Department, came to the class with some equipment used for crime scene investigation. Students learned about fingerprinting and actually were allowed to dust for prints. They also used Mikrosil which is a silicon casting putty, to create a cast. In an investigation, Mikrosil might be used to get a cast of a tool impression. Investigator Leake also showed students examples of a different kind of cast -- dental stone -- which is used to create casts of shoe prints and tire tracks “‘This course was a great exposure and a great opportunity for these kids,” concluded Ms. Shelton.
The Early Childhood Summer Academy class focused on teaching babysitting skills,” said Raelyn Hamilton, Early Childhood Education teacher at Triplett Tech. All of the students enrolled in the course babysit younger brothers and sisters or work as a babysitter for other young children. Discussions focused on infants through school-age children. Classroom topics included safety, healthy snacks, how to meet the family of the child you babysit, expectations that parents have for babysitters, and games, activities, and music for children of all ages. Students in the class made playdough and a counting file folder game. Everything the students did in class -- all of the activities -- “gave them practical knowledge they can take back and apply as they babysit,” said Ms. Hamilton.
Early Childhood Education
Cosmetology students in Anita Foltz’s class used each other as clients to learn and to practice many services provided in a beauty salon and spa. Ms. Foltz, who is a substitute teacher at Triplett Tech and a licensed cosmetologist, taught her students hair styling, regular hair set, facial masks and facial massages, massaging shampoos, application of makeup, paraffin waxing, manicures, pedicures, pin curls, and barrell curls. ‘I like styling and learning new styles the best, “ said Alishah Ayyub, a risingeighth grader at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School. Of the students in Ms. Foltz’s summer class, some are thinking of becoming cosmetologists while others want to apply what they have learned personally or on their friends. As a part of the open house, the cosmetology students treated parents to paraffin hand waxing. “They were busy little ladies who enjoyed providing this special treat,” said Ms. Foltz. (Photo right: Cosmetology
Barry. Arey, retired principal of Triplett Tech and former Director of Career and Technical Education, described Triplett’s first Summer Academy as a “huge success.” He foresees “a bright future” for the academy in the years ahead. Triplett Tech principal Connie Pangle agrees and finding funding for the Summer Academy to continue is already on her mind. “It was a great event” she said. “Our students will benefit from an annual Summer Academy at Triplett Tech.”