The scope on CAL: what to expect and what to know

Dylan Hess, Staff Writer

   There are many opportunities available to a high school student, and CAL is one that every student should consider.

   CAL is short for the Center For Advanced Learning, and it is a separate building only a short distance from GHS. During both their senior and junior year, CAL students attend specialized classes in one of a variety of different

programs offered there, alongside their normal high school classes.

   “There’s something for everyone,” said junior and CAL manufacturing student Cohen Foglio. “I chose engineering and manufacturing because I love going to the shop [workshop, not store] with my dad, and hanging out with him and using tools.”

  One of the main goals of CAL is for students to learn about a specific program area that they are interested in. Programs in engineering, medical, information technology, design, digital media, and entrepreneurship are all offered at CAL.

     Max Grad, the teacher of the manufacturing and engineering program said, “CAL is the place to dive deeply into concrete applications. Even with labs, traditional science and math classes still only briefly visit each area of study. Depth over breadth – and there’s still a lot of breadth!”

   CAL classes focus on hands-on learning, and students at CAL can expect to use real equipment and tools used by professionals in the field they are learning about, such as power tools, medical equipment, sewing machines, and more.

   Grad said, “If you’re the kind of student who likes to ask, ‘When will we use this?’ then CAL is the place for you! It’s all about learning things for immediate, hands-on use.”   

   For instance, in the engineering and manufacturing program, students learn to work both on a computer using CAD (computer-aided design) programs, and physically with tools in CAL’s own metal shop.

   “It’s really cool because this is stuff I’m going to use throughout my life, because I want to be an engineer when I grow up,” Foglio said. “And all this stuff I’m learning now, I would have to learn in college, except this is free.”

    CAL is integrated with learning here at GHS. Students have the option of taking a bus to CAL from GHS, and a bus back to the school after CAL classes are over. Students attend CAL in either the morning or afternoon, depending on the program they choose.

   “CAL is different from normal school because there are a little bit smaller classes, and it’s longer class periods. There’s also more hands-on work. Nothing I do at my school is anything close to what I do at CAL,”   Foglio said.

   To join CAL, students first have to fill out an application form, which you can find on the CAL website ( This year, students should try to fill in the form by the 1st of March to maximize their chances of being accepted into CAL. Those who are accepted will begin CAL in September 2022.

   Foglio said, “If you’re joining CAL or even thinking about joining CAL, you need to decide now so that you aren’t rushed when you’re applying because if you wait until the last minute, and you don’t really know if you want to do it, you could choose the wrong option.”

   Though CAL classes can be more difficult than normal classes, they are a good (and free) opportunity to gain skills in a subject you are interested in, and even college credit with Mount Hood Community College through both your CAL english class and your chosen program. Because there is no investment, it is also a great way to figure out if you would be interested in a job in the field you are learning about.

   Grad said, “Get on over here! It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.