CTE Education Continues On-Campus Learning at PAHS

CTE Education Continues On-Campus Learning at PAHS
Posted on 11/04/2020
CTE Education Continues On-Campus Learning at PAHS

Port Angeles, WA – Port Angeles High School (PAHS) and its staff and students are dedicated to collaborating and connecting with each other, especially during this time of distancing learning. While the district continues to feel the effects of COVID-19 in our community and schools, PAHS is committed to having students on campus in engaging and safe ways. This term finds staff working hard to bring more students to campus.

PAHS teacher Betsy Wharton is leading a brand new emergency response class that is offered through the Health Occupations Career Tech Education Department. This course is open to all grade levels and includes first aid, CPR, and community emergency response team training. Wharton shares, “This semester’s drill happens to fall during Halloween so we are working with Clallam County’s Emergency Operations Center to hopefully run a small zombie invasion.”

Small groups of students venture to campus to practice skills, such as structure building and knot tying. Freshman Logan Guntharp says he enjoys being on campus and learning how to not get rained on if outside overnight. Senior Rikki Sandberg is in Wharton’s class; she recently moved from Bonney Lake and is using this on-campus time to get familiar with PAHS and make new friends.

PAHS’ citizenship class is the only NJROTC program holding practice in the state of Washington, says teacher Jonathan Picker. Students are meeting once per week to practice drills. Betty Cameron, head of Color Guard (which is the group that presents the colors for the National Anthem before sporting events) says, “Practicing in small groups is better than nothing.” Students get screened, have their temperature taken, wear masks, and socially distance during their time on campus. Senior Jenna Gates, who will be entering an Army program after graduation, shares “It is important to get freshman involved. The program depends on them to carry the team forward next year.” Both Cameron and Gates agree that practicing helps build interest in and enthusiasm for NJROTC which is critical for their group.

Both woodshop and automotive courses have students returning to campus to work on projects. Woodshop student Kierra Puksta says, “The small classes on-campus are beneficial. I am getting more done.” While she misses friends, she enjoys getting help from teacher Tim Branham. “Having kids back is huge. It is why I got into teaching,” says Branham. Branham explains that teaching a hand’s on class is nearly impossible in the virtual world. Puksta agrees, saying “It is nice to have something sort of normal.” Puksta is also taking advantage of tutoring sessions offered on the high school campus.

Freshman Peyton Guthrie is getting a chance to return to campus, learning welding techniques and how to remove dents and paint vehicles. Guthrie says, “It is worth all the screening to come in…it is more exciting and interesting on-campus.” Guthrie’s teacher Dan Helpenstell says, “Kids want to work on projects! Plus it is helping to motivate them with their other school work.”

Whatever the class subject, PAHS plans to keep the momentum going by following safety guidelines and thinking of new ways to bring small groups to campus. It is an important part of distance learning and bridging the gap until a hybrid schedule can begin. The district is impressed by the resilience and creativity of its staff and students. Seeing students on campus is encouraging!

CTE Photo 1 CTE Photo 4 CTE Photo 2 CTE Photo 3


  • Picture 1/2 – Freshman Logan Guntharp building a structure during the emergency response class.
  • Picture 3 – Kierra Puksta is finishing a table project that she began in the spring before the school closure.
  • Picture 4 – Peyton Guthrie practicing welding techniques during an on-campus session.
  • Picture 5 – Teacher Dan Helpenstell showing Guthrie how to use a sprayer when painting a vehicle.


For more information:
Jennifer Sperline, Communications Coordinator
Port Angeles School District
[email protected]