cfsbank and Belle Vernon Area School District Team Up on Student Project

cfsbank is pleased to announce that we recently teamed up with the Belle Vernon Area School District, DMI Companies and a group of high school seniors to design and build a new sign for the Belle Vernon Area High School (BVAHS).

The sign was built and designed by a team of BVAHS engineering seniors as part of their Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Design and Development (EDD) capstone course. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience to students and teachers through a hands-on classroom experience.  Through PLTW, students learn in-demand technical skills as well as critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.

“This project epitomizes an authentic learning opportunity,” commented Heath Curran, Assistant Vice Principal at BVAHS.  “Mr. Pappas’ PLTW courses allow for students to learn with a hands-on, minds-on approach.  The students involved in this project experienced the entire process for the new school sign from design to installation.   The students learned well beyond the walls of the classroom and will leave a legacy at BVAHS.”

This year, of course, was not a typical year due to the pandemic. Students faced the challenge of choosing a project that could be worked on both remotely and face-to-face in the classroom. A new school sign fit the bill perfectly.

Over the course of the 2020/2021 school year, the engineering students worked with the Art and Graphic Design classes to come up with several possible designs. The winner was chosen via a Google Survey that enabled all seniors to vote for their favorite design.

“What’s really special about this project is the technology that was used,” shared Mike Pappas, Tech Ed/PLTW Engineering Teacher at BVAHS.  “Students embraced the opportunity to use this technology and the software for the first time this year on such a large project.”

The CNC router used on this project was built by former engineering student and BVAHS graduate Riley Ott as part of his gifted project. This project was also made possible by significant donations from cfsbank and our industry advisor DMI Companies. Both companies’ contributions will be honored by a plaque the students are including on their sign.

“Schools are such a vital part of the community and it gives us great pleasure to be able to give back and help the students with their project,” said John Gill, President and CEO at cfsbank. “This is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a community bank.”

Demolition of the school’s previous sign and the site prep work have already been completed. Students erected their finished project in front of the main entrance of the Belle Vernon Area High School on Tuesday, May 25th.

“It’s always a great honor for me and our engineering students to work with professionals from outside of the building,” commented Pappas. “With the support of cfsbank, and our industry advisor DMI Companies, this school project was a great success.”

The Belle Vernon Area High School is located approximately 25 miles south of Pittsburgh in the Monongahela River Valley of Southwestern Pennsylvania, spanning Westmoreland and Fayette Counties. The school is comprised of students in grades 9 through 12, with just under 800 students. A wide variety of academic and extracurricular activities are available to all students, including dual enrollment with several local colleges and universities.