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CHS CTE Students Translate Course Skills Into Practice

CHENEY, Wash. – Cheney High School students are making waves within the local agriculture sector in response to their marketing work with a local farmer. A group of senior students, encouraged by CHS CTE teacher Taryn Fletcher, put their lessons into practice by creating an entire business portfolio for Keith Kopf of Farmer Logic, LLC, and attendees of the 2024 Spokane Agricultural Expo have taken notice.

“Vendors want to hire [us] for upcoming events and to rebrand their companies in general,” CHS student Logan Konrad said.

Kopf, the owner of Farmer Logic, LLC, recently developed and patented the first-ever chain glide blocks, engineered to extend the lifespan of paddle-type grain elevators. Without a developed website or business background, Kopf was unsure of how to market his new invention. He reached out to Fletcher at the beginning of the 2023-24 school year and first floated the idea of her students designing an advertisement for him.

The patent for Kopf’s design was the only inspiration students had to begin working on the advertisement. As a starting point, Fletcher encouraged her students to use Generative AI to kickstart some ideas.

“There’s not a competitor or competitor’s product out there; it’s a new product that is for a specific customer,” Fletcher said. “We used the patent [information], and [Generative AI] came up with a lot of different ideas for us for our writing.”

Fletcher, who teaches Business Writing at CHS, worked with students on different types of writing for this project, including advertisements, website copy, contract law, warranty and product liabilities, in addition to interpreting shipping laws for international shipping, which had to be reflected on the website. (Business Writing is a brand-new course offered at CHS; it is an Honors English/Language Arts (ELA) course for 11th and 12th graders that offers free college articulation and free Microsoft Office Industry Certification).

“We’re learning how to write in our Business Writing class for a specific audience,” Fletcher added.

“We had a little competition on making the best ad,” said CHS student Jackson Reagan. “And then we just kept getting more and more involved, which developed into making a website, making business cards to [engraving] bowls, and finally being here [at the Ag Expo] with a banner and a booth.”

After completing the international advertisement, seniors Konrad and Reagan, along with Madylen Dennstaedt, Teagan McGee, Michael Fetter, Siri Tripp, Will PeLayo-Gomez and Christina Germanovich, worked together to develop a complete business portfolio for Kopf. Utilizing skills learned in CTE courses like Business Writing, Project Management II, Digital Design I (Graphic Arts), Digital Design II (Web Development), Digital Video Production, and Computer Apps, the students designed a company logo, webpage, custom business cards and engravings, as well as additional items for the Ag Expo exhibit. This included one-page flyers and a video montage explaining the product and patent for expo attendees. The students also spearheaded creating a prototype of the glide blocks to showcase at the Ag Expo, which was later brought to life by engineering students at Washington State University.

“That wasn’t the initial idea, to utilize all those other courses, but [the project] just kept growing,” said Fletcher. “They didn’t want to stop. They wanted to keep writing and expand and create these other products.”

Each student contributed to the project in different ways. They identified their strengths and worked with each other and Kopf to complete the project by the specified deadlines. Reagan spearheaded the engravings, while Dennstaedt tackled the majority of the website copy. Konrad was responsible for the website’s contact page, while McGee took on formatting the website. (McGee, who is also a part-time Running Start student at Eastern Washington University, secured an unpaid internship from Farmer Logic, LLC, to organize and run the exhibit at the Ag Expo). Fetter acted as the group’s photographer and videographer, utilizing the skills he’s developed in Digital Video Production (a brand-new course) to capture the essence of Farmer Logic, LLC.

“When it just all comes together it’s like, ‘Oh, I can do this’,” Fetter said. “Your limit, your sky is just raised. Sky’s the limit. You’re like, ‘I can do this. I can do these professional and cool things and make something out of it.”

“The other really cool thing was that we did not know how to do most of these things before [this project],” McGee added. “It was very much like, Ms. Fletcher would say, ‘Here! This is what we’re doing.’ And we’d say, ‘OK!’. So, we’re looking up how to use this website software, and we’re looking up how to do these things. It’s just like Michael said, it’s just, ‘Oh my gosh, I learned how to do that.’ So, then you’re like, I can learn how to do anything now.”

Cheney High’s students utilized professional-grade industry equipment to create products for Kopf and Farmer Logic, LLC; the equipment was funded by grants secured through the efforts of CTE Director Adam Smith. This equipment included an Omtech Laser Engraver and a Melco Bravo embroidery machine, among others. The CTE courses that provided the platform for learning are also partially funded by the district’s Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy.

“We all learn to read and write, then we get put in a situation where we have to implement it in a different audience or in a different form than what we’re used to,” Fletcher said. “[These students] were able to take what they’ve learned in their ELA classes, what they are learning in their current ELA class Business Writing, and apply what they’ve been learning and then showcase their work. They’ve been able to grow their showcase based on the CTE classes they had previously completed.”

Several students mentioned that their favorite part of the project was seeing the finished product at the Ag Expo, inside the Spokane Convention Center in downtown Spokane, but they also understood the impact of learning how to communicate in a professional setting.

“For me, it was very important to really learn these skills now instead of later,” Reagan said. “It can be more important, life-altering. It was really nice to learn them now in a controlled environment with guidance from a teacher to help move me in the right direction.”

“They’ve done a pretty good job,” Kopf said. “I think they get a lot more out of it, being a real project, than a fictitious project. You can tell they are proud of what they are doing here.”

To take a look at the website the students created for Farmer Logic, LLC, visit
CHS CTE students pose in front of the Ag Expo boothProducts created by CTE StudentsCHS senior Michael Fetter takes photos of the Ag Expo boothAdditional products developed by CHS CTE studentsLeather patch created by CHS CTE students