High Point's Technology Dept. recognized nationally

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  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner High Point Technological Department educators are, from left, Steven Peltier, Ben Kappler, Kevin Fenlon, Brian Drelick and Alex Gonzalez.

  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner

  • Photo by Viktoria-Leigh Wagner

High Point Regional High School's technology department is one in a million, getting recognized as the state's most impressive technology program.

High Point was the recipient of the International Technology Engineering Educators Association and the Paxton-Patterson Program Excellence Award for the second time in a decade.

Department Educators Alexander Gonzalez, Mark Wallace and Ben Kappler will attend the ITEEA’s 76th Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla., to receive the award on behalf of their department and school at the Program Excellence General Session on March 27.

High Point’s technology program also received the state Program of the Year Award spring of last year.

Technological Studies Department Chairman Brian Drelick of Hardyston has been teaching at High Point 13 years:

“It’s very humbling to realize you’re considered nationwide as one of the premier programs in the country,” he said. “The most rewarding aspect is when the students come back to us after graduating and say how prepared they are in college and in the work field because of our programs at High Point. It proves we’re doing all the right things.”

Drelick said students feel comfortable in the classroom with the teachers and their peers.

This fosters an environment that facilitates creativity, hard work and a great deal of success,” Drelick said.

High Point students have won at least 40 state titles since 2007 in Technology Student Association competitions and three national championships since 2005.

ITEEA Paxton-Patterson Program Excellence Co-Chairwoman Nancye L. Hart gave High Point the good news, complementing its Technology Education program as “truly exemplary among all others in the state at that level.”

According to Hart, one high school, middle school and elementary school from each state are normally eligible to win this particular award. This year, less than 35 program awards will be given out.

"The applications process is fairly extensive," she said. "Each school must put together a portfolio, and I believe 25 percent of the teachers must be ITEEA members in good standing.”

Hart said the quality, care and interest in students being technologicallyl literate helps the winning programs stand out.

“I think what makes a good technology teacher is the same thing that makes a good technology student," Hart said. "To be excited about the different technologies that you get to teach or learn about. High Point’s teachers are all dedicated to making sure the students are getting the most out of their education.”

Drelick, who teaches Power, Energy and Transportation and Engineering and Design Technology says the robotics class is doing college-level work, which exposes the students to new electronic computer programming and robotic technologies.

Alexander Gonzalez teaches Materials Processing, Bio Technology and Mechanical Movement.

“In Materials Processing, we’ve been trying to shy away from the woodshop work and focus on product design and manufacturing," he said. "In Bio Tech, we’ve been studying hydroponics, GMOs (Genetically Modified Foods) and so on.”

Ben Kappler, the governor's teachcer of the year for 2013, teaches architecture and computer animation.

“Typically, we compete," he said. "My second-year group is working on a competition for Synergis Education where they have to design a community arts center, and the students are participating in the 2014 DiscoverDesign National High School Architecture Competition where they will design an athletic pavilion.

Engineering and Design, Communication Technology and Women in Engineering teacher Mark Wallace was the district teacher of the year in 2013 and created the nation’s first Women in Engineering Program in 2001.

Steven Peltier teaches Computer Animation, CAD1-4, Media 1 and Special Education Media Technology.

"I like working with students on projects," he said. "Where it's more about the methodology of problem-solving and the engineering skill-set than specifici course content."

This is media technology teacher Kevin Fenlon’s 21st year at High Point. This year, students will have the opportunity to become certified in the Apple programs Final Cut and Motion.

“Our students make commercials for local businesses," he said. "In fact, we just received an award from Selective Insurance for just that.”

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