TPHS hosts Innovation Showcase for CTE classesTPHS hosts

There are “eight pathways at TPHS, each tied to an industry sector” with numerous job opportunities, Principal Rob Coppo announced as observers stood in a semi-circle outside the Falcon Eatery on April 17, listening to the principal’s introduction to the SDUHSD Innovation Showcase. 

In the showcase, Career Technical Education classes at TPHS were given the opportunity to highlight what they have learned throughout this school year — including demonstrations from computer science, culinary arts, woodworking and student-run businesses.

For Jonathon Tator, a teacher in the Engineering Pathway, this event was important for the staff in particular. 

“[The showcase] is meant for industry professionals to talk to [teachers] about how to improve the shop. It’s good feedback for the staff,” Tator said.

Not only did the SDUHSD Innovation Showcase provide teachers with feedback, but it also provided students a platform to display their work. 

James Halpern (10) shows guests projects by art students. The Innovation Showcase displayed 2D and 3D art. Photo by Hope Dennis/Falconer

Sylvia Olson (11), a student in the Business Pathway, displayed her business and product to both the CTE officials — which includes CTE teachers from across the district and district CTE personnel, according to Jake Ashby, who teaches classes in the Business Pathway —  as well as other spectators and potential buyers.

The business that she and her Advanced Business Management peers created is known as Shine Designs, a hoodie company that attaches reflective patches to their designs. Olson’s brother, Benicio Olson (9) at TPHS, is an e-biker who inspired her to create this product to help e-bikers be better seen at night. For Olson, this event was a “great opportunity to show off [Shine Designs] and how great the Business Pathway is.”

Shine Designs received the Junior Achievement Student Company of the Year award on Wed. April 24. JA is a program dedicated to student entrepreneurship. 

Inside the Falcon Eatery, a table of confections created by Culinary Arts students greeted guests, and beyond, artwork was hung on walls and placed on tables. Digital arts teacher Jennifer Doerrer stationed herself near the tables, observing how “cutting-edge” everything at the event was. 

Eric Lee (11) and Jacob Limon (11), students in Culinary Arts, present dessert options at the showcase. TPHS currently offers two Culinary Arts classes. Photo by Hope Dennis/Falconer

“I think it is pretty amazing looking at all the different departments [and CTE programs TPHS has]; it’s pretty diverse,” Doerrer said.

Farther back in the event area, the woodshop door was open to welcome in visitors. Madeline Fletcher (10) stood by a fully functioning clock she made in her woodshop class. For Fletcher, events like this are “a great way for us to put what we do on showcase” because they allow CTE students to do “more projects [they] are passionate about.” 

To the right of the Falcon Eatery, attendees were led into a computer lab. Computer science students exhibited a video game called “Freddy Takes Flight,” which they had designed over a period of five to six months. Attendees of the showcase could try out the video game for themselves. 

Jervis Fernandes (10), who is currently taking AP Computer Science Principles, liked that the showcase allowed other students’ work, along with his own, to “not go unnoticed and [to] receive feedback.” 

“[Students] can actually improve on their craft, and [the showcase] helps them to … demonstrate their capabilities,” Fernandes said. 

Seeing the CTE classes and student accomplishments laid out at this showcase, Richard Robinette, who teaches the classes in the Computer Science pathway (including Machine Learning, which will be a new addition to the pathway beginning next school year), said he wished he “could’ve gotten [his] son to go [to TPHS].” 

For Robinette, just seeing students “interacting with each other” and “seeing what other people are into” was also valuable. 

Tator agreed. 

“I think it’s just nice for people to tour our facilities and see kids’ projects because sometimes you just don’t see [certain classes and their accomplishments].” 

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