CareerSafe Teacher Spotlight: Bryan Lehocky

During the 2020-2021 school year, educators found themselves faced with the unique challenge of delivering instruction virtually in the face of a pandemic. While there was an almost universal scramble to find the best possible solution to ensure no student was left behind, educators in places like career and technology centers (CTCs) faced the additional challenge of providing hands-on experience in a virtual world.

The staff and administration at Beaver County Career and Technology Center (BCCTC), like so many other CTCs, had to produce a plan that was solid and efficient and would also accommodate all the districts and students within their area of service—no simple task! Staff at BCCTC was asked to step out of their comfort zones and deliver hands-on instruction on a virtual platform. Under the direction of the Assistant Director, Ms. Laura DelVecchio, the instructional staff immediately accepted the challenge—and excelled at rising to meet it. Specifically, Mr. Bryan Lehocky, Greenhouse and Landscaping Instructor, was able to deliver his traditional hands-on instruction in a virtual world and still host the annual spring plant sale. Mr. Lehocky wasted no time getting the students back into the lab areas and on campus working on performance-based skills when they returned in March 2021. Upon their return, students in the Greenhouse/Landscaping program were in the greenhouse daily, prepping plants for the much-anticipated sale in May.

Traditionally, the plant sale is open to the public, and it is common to have lines around the building as early as 7:30 a.m. as customers wait to shop what have come to be known as some of the best flowers, fruits, and vegetables around. Last year, because of the pandemic, the sale was only open to staff and members of the CTC school board. While the crowd was small, the products were still robust in every way! Geraniums, impatiens, marigolds, zinnias, dusty millers, and begonias could be found blooming all over the greenhouse, alongside various types of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs for buyers to plant for the summer months.Despite being offered to a smaller group of people and students not returning to in-person classes until March, the pandemic didn't prevent the plant sale from being a rousing success.Students were able to directly apply the plant identification skills they'd learned virtually, as well as get much-needed customer service experience in the industry.In the words of Ms. DelVecchio, Mr. Lehocky managed to implement project-based learning at its finest!

The pandemic was truly a game-changer in many ways and across industries and sectors around the world. For the instructors at the BCCTC, it was a steppingstone in the path toward a new way to educate students. Despite growing pains, staff like Mr. Lehocky accepted the challenges and rose to the occasion to ensure that they were, in the words of Ms. DelVecchio, "providing their students with the tools to build their futures!"

Congratulations to Mr. Bryan Lehocky and the students at BCCTC on innovating success!

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