Students learn unique skills at CVCC


Joe Earl

Seniors Elliot Parham and Connor O’rielly show their engine.

Joe Earl, Reporter

Elliot Parham, a senior at Revere High School, leaves the building halfway through the school day. Although his education starts at Revere’s doors, it does not end there. His second educational home, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (CVCC) has taught him a wide range of applicable skills that almost sound like a different language to the average Revere student. Parham is currently researching fuel injectors, learning to weld and adjusting the valves on a CAT C12 diesel engine. 

At the same time, Revere High School senior Dee Dee Sawan completes the necessary training to earn her STNA (State Tested Nurse Assistance) at the Health Careers sector of CVCC.

Both Parham and Sawan have been at CVCC since their junior years, and while their experiences differ, they still carry the same DNA of a successful Revere and CVCC student. 

Parham grew up around cars. His father and grandfather worked on a Chevrolet Camaro when Parham was young, so naturally cars have always been a part of his life. Despite his interest in cars, Parham never considered it as a career path before attending CVCC. It was when he learned of the practicality of teaching at CVCC that he started to take an interest in his career field, Power Equipment Technology.

“[CVCC] was my best opportunity of being successful [through] working hands on. It was the easiest way to open doors for myself,” Parham said. 

Parham learned the ins and outs of petrol engines last year and has started to focus on diesel engines this year, but his tangible skills do not define his learning at CVCC. Parham is class president of Power Equipment Technology and has assumed a leadership role in the class through his work ethic at CVCC. Furthermore, his leadership role has led him to joining SkillsUSA, an educational organization which he elaborated on.

“We go down to Columbus every couple of months. We visit and learn about leadership opportunities. It’s pretty cool,” Parham said. 

Alongside opportunities like those, CVCC provides ways to grow as a student through the natural dynamics of the classroom. Parham further explained the concept of learning, leadership and teamwork at CVCC. 

“If there’s something that you’re struggling with, you can ask anyone in the class and they [often] know how to do it. It’s driven by helping the people around you, not just going to a teacher and asking for help,” Parham said.  

CVCC’s teaching environment progresses with the students. Parham explained how the first and second years differ at CVCC.  

“[Last year, we would] learn about something, then we’ll go downstairs and take the test, then we immediately do it. This year, we have more control over our projects. We learned the things that we need to learn this year, [but] we don’t have any set time limit on how quickly or how slowly to do things,” Parham said.

CVCC’s commitment to students does not end after the students receive their credentials. Mock interviews, building resumes and networking all make up a senior’s workload at CVCC, alongside the hours put towards learning the profession. Parham, graduating with a ten hour OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health) certification, a forklift operator certification and a silver STIHL certification (certified to work with STIHL equipment), will begin work at Empaco Equipment in the coming weeks. 

Sawan, class president of Health Careers, much like Parham, found that CVCC has set her up for a choice outside of high school: college or a career. Sawan plans to go to either Ohio University or Kent State University and feels as though CVCC has made her college admissions process mostly stress free, as she explained. 

“[CVCC] really helps me get into schools really easily, and I didn’t even have to turn my ACT in. It just looks really good on your college application if you want to go into [the] medical field,” Sawan said. 

Sawan said that not only does CVCC look great on a transcript for entering the medical field, but the STNA credential she is working towards should assist her even further in college, as she explained. 

“[To be an] assistant doctor you need to [have a] certain amount of hours before you can graduate. [With] the STNA you can work, get into work really fast and get a bunch of hours working in a health field,” Sawan said. 

Sawan is set to graduate with an STNA and a CPR certification through CVCC. These certifications set students up for life, straight out of high school. Revere’s superintendent, Dr. Michael Tefs feels strongly about this concept as he explained. 

“[CVCC provides] instant employment. I think the graduation to employment [rate] is [approximately] 98%. And it’s not just finishing CVCC and getting a job. These are credentials: [firefighter] credentials, [the credentials] to be a medic, to be a nurse, to be an electrician, they’re all [graduating] with credentials, documents, [and] papers,” Tefs said. 

Tefs believes that CVCC manages the perfect equilibrium between teaching students effectively and still letting them live the lives of high school students. He explained that not all high school students in Ohio have such a great opportunity. 

“What’s wonderful about this model versus some other models in the state, is you’re still so connected to your high school. Some models, you leave your high school completely and you’re there full time. Here, it’s a half day program. So you still get to be a Revere Minuteman. You still get to be involved in the band, in the choir, in the drama production, [and] in the athletic program,” Tefs said.

Both Sawan and Parham are on track to graduate CVCC and Revere by the end of the year, with their career and college plans defined by their time at CVCC. Making friends and taking leadership roles in their classes, they both say they “love” CVCC and what the career center has done for their futures as a whole.