CATEC October Newsletter

Stay Up-to-Date on All the Things Happening at CATEC

Keep In Touch

There are lots of ways to know what is happening at CATEC. Keep in touch with us to know what our students are doing and all the ways we are working to improve our local workforce.

High School

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Adult Education and Apprenticeship

Are you an adult interested in continuing your education? CATEC's Adult Education and Apprenticeship Program offers +100 in-person and online classes. Scholarships are available. Keep in touch with this program to learn more:

Director's Message

Welcome Fall

I hope everyone is enjoying the refreshing fall weather! As we wind-up October and the first quarter, I am continually awe-struck by our students. Returning to school after 17 months has had its challenges, but our students have engaged and embraced the opportunities in front of them. It has been inspirational to see our school community come together and continually rise to the occasion.

One of the most unique and exciting aspects of CATEC is our strong connection to the business community. In our discussions with our business partners, we consistently hear the feedback that they are seeking employees with strong workplace readiness skills. To prepare our students, we embrace one central expectation, CATEC Students are Professional. Already this year, our students have received instruction on and been given the opportunity to practice professionalism, workplace safety, career and life management, positive work ethic, initiative and self-direction, and integrity. Our goal is to prepare our students for life whether it is career, college, or the military, and these skills will support them to their goals, but help them soar.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I would like to say I am very thankful for our students, families, and the most amazing staff and faculty. CATEC is a wonderful place full of opportunity not because of what it is, but who we serve. Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Stephanie Carter

Schoolwide Information

Calendar Dates

November 1- Parent-Teacher Conferences

November 2- Parent-Teacher Conferences

November 10- Half Day for Students

November 24-26- Thanksgiving Holiday

December 1- Adult Education & Apprenticeship Opportunity Fund Scholarship Form Due

December 1- Adult Education & Apprenticeship Auto Tech Scholarship Form Due

In the News

CATEC values its local partners who support our students' learning opportunities, whether its donating equipment for student use, acting as mentors to our students, or supporting our programming through community initiatives. On September 29th, CATEC participated in The United Way Day of Caring. Woodward Properties and Pepsi Cola Bottling of Central Virginia volunteered their time to help CATEC. Woodward Properties cleared land and planted wildflowers for our Siller Bee Pollinator bee hives. Pepsi Cola painted a tractor shed built by CATEC students years ago. To learn more about this event, check out the following news stories:



School Counseling Services

Ms. Wilson, CATEC's School Counselor, is on-site daily to assist students with scheduling issues, college dual-enrollment registration, and individual needs. In October, Ms. Wilson and Assistant Principal Smith conducted individual check-in and goal-setting meetings with all students. They reviewed the school year, offered support, and made short-term and long-term goals with all students. These goals will be revisited in Semester 2. Building Trades student Niko Rogers was selected as CATEC's Student of the Month, based on academic and behavioral excellence in the classroom. To reach Ms. Wilson, you can email her at or call her at 434-973-4461.

CATEC Students are Professional: Workplace Readiness

CATEC values making sure students graduate with the technical skills and workplace skills necessary for entering the workforce. CATEC has implemented a "CATEC Students Are Professional" mantra to ensure students understand what it takes to be successful in our building and in the workforce. Students are expected to act in accordance with industry standards and practice the 22 21st Century Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth.

In September and October, students in all programs took the CTES Workplace Readiness Skills Assessment. Students will have opportunities to take the exam again in the spring. In October, students practiced skills related to positive work ethic, initiative and self-direction, and integrity. Additionally, students participate in monthly Career Development sessions where they practice skills needed to get jobs and keep them to create a lasting career.

CATEC Academics

CATEC offers academic courses that are both embedded in trade curricula and offered as stand-alone courses. Taking trade and academic courses at CATEC allows students more flexibility with their scheduling as well as learning class materials in authentic ways.

English 12 & Government: Megan Panek and David Topper

English 12 and Government wrapped up their unit on the foundations of the American Government. Students wrote personal essays about the paths they intend to take next year, and these essays can be used for college applications. They are now entering an elections unit where students will learn all about the election process and factors that influence our elections. They'll also dig into the history of voting rights in our country, and end with a research-based project.

English 10 & 11 embedded in Culinary 1: Megan Panek

This class had a great quarter 1 that included students giving informative presentations on a chef that inspires them and also writing recipe blogs to go with the Cultivate Charlottesville Market Day that happened at CATEC on October 22nd. In quarter 2 they will continue to expand our CATEC Culinary blog and specifically focus on reading various types of non-fiction.

English 11 embedded in Cosmetology 1: Megan Panek

English 11 had a great quarter 1 with students participating in a “Hair and Fashion Through the Decades” group project as well as giving informative presentations on a system of the body. Yes, Cosmetology incorporates quite a bit of anatomy! They also did some personal writing that had them focus on their future hopes and dreams. In quarter 2 they will write their first blogs to post to the CATEC Culinary blog and also focus on reading various types of non-fiction.

Economics and Personal Finance: David Topper

CATEC's young financiers just completed a unit on the value of money and the importance of creating and adhering to a budget (ask them about the difference between needs and wants). Next up, they will be discussing the purpose of financial accounts. In doing so, they will be actively researching local financial institutions and maintaining mock accounts. In addition, students will be introduced to Mimic Personal Finance (MPF). MPF is a virtual system in which students will be given a virtual job and paycheck and will be required balance their statements/pay their bills weekly. In the scenario, each week is equal to one month. They will be put up against real-life decisions and may get a taste of what it is to succeed as well as how it feels to be dealt an unexpected financial blow. These are real world scenarios played out in a safe classroom environment.

Geometry embedded into Building Trades: Jake Sills

Students have covered multiple chapters in their textbook, but embedded their math knowledge into practical applications of the Building Trades program in quarter 1. Students have used math to build birdhouses and fire pits. They have also completed the NCCER Core math module. Next up, students will be using software to convert 2-D designs into 3-D designs.

Profile of a CATEC Student

Each month, we introduce you to two current CATEC students. Here at CATEC, we know our student body is diverse and interesting and we want to share their stories with our community.

Austin Bernsen, Automotive Service Technology II

Austin Bernsen is an Automotive Service Technology II student who turned his interest in hands-on, problem-solving work into a paid internship. Bernsen, a senior at Albemarle High School, has parlayed his CATEC classwork into work at Price Kia. In the morning he takes challenging classes like physics and calculus at AHS and in the afternoon he interns at Price Kia. His internship runs Tuesday-Friday 1pm-5pm and he attends CATEC in-person on Mondays. At Price Kia, he works with the lead engine technician repairing and replacing engines. He spends his spare time participating in AHS’s Mountain Biking Club, which he has been a part of since his freshman year. Bernsen participates in competitive races against other schools in Virginia. When he graduates from high school spring 2022, he hopes to attend college to study engineering at a school like Virginia Tech. He can roll his 25 Auto Service Technology college credits from Reynolds Community College into his studies there, setting him off on an educational path that saves him time and money.

Jordan Foley, Veterinary Science

Jordan Foley is a Veterinary Science student who pursues excellence in the classroom and on the soccer field. Foley, a senior at Monticello High School, will be attending Randolph Macon College to play soccer in fall 2022. The outside fullback has been playing soccer since she was a child and loves the opportunity to release her stress out on the field. She plays for Monticello High School and Skyline Elite teams, and says she also loves that she’s been able to meet new people from different places through her years of playing. In her spare time, she volunteers at Forest Lakes Veterinary Clinic. Since summer 2021, she has assisted with making vaccines, walking animals, and observing surgeries. At Randolph Macon she will study as a pre-vet and then hopes to go to graduate school at Virginia Tech. She will be able to take with her the 12 dual-enrollment college credits she earns from Blue Ridge Community College as part of her Veterinary Science experience.

Each month, we introduce you to one of CATEC's programs, including information about curriculum, academic integration, college credit, and career opportunities.

High-Demand Careers

All October CATEC celebrated Careers in Construction Month, a month-long recognition of craft professionals and career opportunities in the construction industry. Sponsored by National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Build Your Future (BYF), the annual event brings together organizations from around the country to work together to raise awareness of the great career opportunities in the construction industry. Careers in Construction events highlight skilled men and women, provide information and resources for educators, and help youth interested in becoming a craft professional.

Skilled craftspeople are in demand nationwide. 70% of jobs do not require bachelor’s degrees and with nearly 1.5 million craft professionals needed by 2023, it is more important than ever to get high school students interested in the construction industry. Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia estimates that the workforce will demand 177,748 workers in Virginia by the year 2021. The projected job growth in Virginia in the construction industry is up 21%.

CATEC Building Trades and Electricity

CATEC’s Building Trades program prepares students to erect, install, maintain, and repair buildings and other structures. Curriculum focuses on developing skills in safety for the masonry, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing professions. CATEC’s Electricity program provides students with skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems. Students study electrical theory and navigate the National Electrical Code Book.

Academic Integration

The 2021-2022 school year has kicked off academic integration into the Building Trades program. Students enrolled in Building Trades have the option of taking Geometry embedded into their class. Students use geometric concepts and formulas to solve practical programs related to the core building trades of masonry, carpentry, electricity, and plumbing. During semester 2, students will prepare for the Geometry SOL. Electricity students also have the option of embedding Algebra, Functions, and Data Analysis into their class. Students use algebraic functions and analyze data to solve practical problems related to installing and maintaining residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems.

Electricity students receive 9 college credits from Piedmont Virginia Community College. Students in both Building Trades and Electricity program are OSHA-10 certified and receive certifications in NCCER curriculum by the end of the school year.

Community Partnerships

Local businesses are constantly seeking out students to intern and hire for their companies. The construction industry is robust in the Charlottesville area and CATEC students are in high demand. Each May, Building Trades and Electrical students participate in CATEC’s School-to-Work Signing Day, an event that celebrates students who commit to entering the workforce with local companies. In 2021, five students from these programs participated in Signing Day, with work commitments to local HVAC, electrical, and construction companies. Students received a free pair of Red Wing Shoes and received recognition on local media.


NCCER is an education foundation that offers training curricula, assessments, and credentials for more than 70 crafts, through 6,000 NCCER-accredited facilities. BIY is a recruitment initiative working to find the next generation of craft professionals and close the skills gap and labor shortage in the construction industry.

Meet the Instructor: Tommy Farrer

Mr. Farrer teaches the Building Trades and Electricity programs. He grew up in Charlottesville, graduating from Charlottesville High School. He attended CATEC as an Electricity I and II student. He was motivated to study electricity because he had family members who worked in the industry. Mr. Farrer credits his CATEC instructor for being a big influence on his career choices. As an employee of UVA, he returned to CATEC as an adult Apprenticeship student. He worked for UVA Facilities Management for more than 20 years. Today, he teaches for both the High School and Adult Education and Apprenticeship programs.

Meet the Instructor: Jake Sills

Mr. Sills teaches Math at CATEC. He was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. He graduated from Vanguard University in Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Math. After college graduation, he moved outside Los Angeles, California to a town called Ontario. He then graduated from Hope International University, earning a Single Subject Teaching Credential. He has taught math since 2007.