NCPA LaunchBox helps bring Beaver Commons to life at DuBois Area High School

A new vinyl wall cling created at the North Central PA LaunchBox.

A new vinyl wall cling created at the North Central PA LaunchBox hangs in the Beaver Commons at DuBois Area High School.

Credit: Penn State

DuBOIS, Pa. – A job recently completed by the North Central PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois has helped to further the LaunchBox mission of community development and partnership.  A wall covering measuring 19 feet long and nearly 6 feet high was created on the new advanced vinyl printer in the on-campus Idea Lab, providing a focal point and displaying school spirit for the new Beaver Commons Area at DuBois Area High School. Featuring the DuBois Beaver’s logo, the sign spans an entire wall and reads, “Beaver Commons," leaving no question as to where a visitor has found themselves.

The Beaver Commons, featuring the Beaver Commons Café, is the result of a renovation in the high school library that debuted this school year. In addition to new furniture and flooring in the library, a café space and coffee kiosk was installed, where students, faculty, and staff can start their day with each other over coffee. The coffee kiosk is also largely staffed by students in district’s Special Education Services program.

“We wanted to promote that sense of school spirit and pride, and create a sense of community,” said DuBois Area School District Superintendent Wendy Benton of the unique space.

Anne Young, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, added, “It was a seed that was planted, and it just grew.  We wanted a place for students to feel comfortable gathering, and it grew into this.”

That seed, Young and Benton said, was planted by School Board President Larry Salone. An entrepreneur, Salone had counters, equipment, and more available from a coffee shop he once owned. He suggested the space feature a café available to all students with the added benefit of providing learning opportunities for those with special needs.

Salone said, “We have kids who can benefit from building life skills here that they can’t get in the classroom.  Here, they can work the counter, collect money, serve customers, and learn skills that can help them get a job. I thought this was really important. It does worlds of good for these kids, and that’s what I wanted to do.” 

Benton added, “Larry has a passion for students with exceptional abilities and likes to see them coming together, and to see people coming together. We are grateful for his vision and enthusiasm for students.”

North Central PA LaunchBox Director Brad Lashinsky said he’s excited about partnering with the DuBois Area School District, foreseeing greater collaboration in the future. “Part of our mission is to work with area school districts, discuss entrepreneurship, and provide services, at no cost, that can benefit their students and the community, and support community growth,” Lashinsky said. “In this case, we got to utilize the Idea Lab to enhance a space in the high school that can improve socialization for all students, provide unique opportunities for students with special challenges, and improve the overall experience for everyone.”

Lashinsky is available to assist businesses and individuals in finding ways to meet their unique needs. He can be reached at 814-375-4704 or [email protected].