SMAHS student creates website for area business

Photo by Becky Polaski – St. Marys Area High School student Joshua Kolesar is shown next to a computer displaying the website he designed for Kreckel Enterprises Inc. as a project for one of his classes.
Staff Writer

St. Marys Area High School student Joshua Kolesar recently had the opportunity to not only get hands-on website designing experience through one of his classes, but to also work with an actual business and have them ultimately decide to use the website he created.
Kolesar, a Byrnedale resident who was a sophomore during the 2017-2018 school year, enrolled in a relatively new class at St. Marys Area called Digital Information Lab last fall. According to Jason Schreiber, a teacher at St. Marys Area High School who was in charge of the class, the course gave students an opportunity to learn about whatever they wanted in terms of technology.
“It was an independent study. We talked the first couple weeks just about technology in general,” Schreiber said.
Kolesar expressed an interest in learning more about website design. He set about doing research and watching YouTube videos to learn more on the topic.
“It seems like there’s a lot of demand for that kind of thing and it’d be a useful skill to know in this day and age,” Kolesar said.
At the same time Kolesar was beginning to familiarize himself with the basics of website building, Schreiber also approached Vern Kreckel III, president and owner of Kreckel Enterprises Inc., to see if he would be interested in allowing Kolesar to create a website for the business.
At the time, Kreckel Enterprises did not have a website, and so Kreckel agreed to allow Kolesar to design one. That set in motion regular conversations between the three as the project began to take shape.
Schreiber described the process as “a lot of back and forth” and said that being able to watch the interaction between Kreckel and Kolesar as they worked out all of the details was one of his favorite parts of the endeavor.
“This is really what making a website is about – the back and forth. You’ve got to take the criticisms,” Schreiber said.
He noted that he talked with Kolesar to make sure he understood the importance of paying attention to all the feedback he received from Kreckel.
“If you’re going to make a website for somebody you don’t want to make it and have them be unhappy. You want to be able to (make changes as requested),” Schreiber said.
While Kolesar created the actual website, two other students in the class became involved with some of the behind the scenes work in terms of learning some of the coding used for the project.
“I didn’t know very much about that (the coding), so I had some of my classmates help with that,” Kolesar said.
Those students were Tyler Trunzo and Andrew Atwell, and Schreiber explained that he challenged both to take on roles as programmers.
“I challenged them. I said, ‘Can you guys do this?’ Because this is going to be applicable and this is what a programmer would do. They’re not going to be involved with the design. They’re going to be doing the background work,” Schreiber said. “They were really good. They learned things through websites online and through watching YouTube and they were able to help with the customizing of it a little bit.”
Schreiber added that going into the project, Kreckel was not obligated to use the site if he was unhappy with how it turned out. However, that ended up being far from the case.
Kreckel liked the site so much that he decided to make it the official website for the business.
According to Kreckel, Aaron Simbeck from Advanced Computer Solutions recently helped them secure a URL for the site,, and the company is slowly starting to work the URL into their advertising. The site recently went live and anyone interested can visit the URL to check out Kolesar’s work.
“As far as I’m concerned and my company, we’re very pleased, very happy with the site and very glad to have worked with Jason and Josh and everyone at St. Marys Area,” Kreckel said.
Working with students from both local high schools is something Kreckel Enterprises enjoys doing, he added.
“It was a nice project and our company likes to kind of involve itself in student activities at both schools, at St. Marys Area and at ECC. We try to involve ourselves to give back and to show students about what work is like in this town and different things like that.”
As for Kolesar’s thoughts on the project, he remarked that creating a website turned out to be a lot harder than he thought.
“I had a lot of help from Jason and some of my classmates, but it was a lot more fun than I expected,” Kolesar said.
Kolesar estimated that it took him three to four weeks to learn some of the basics of website design and then 15 weeks to create the actual site.
“I’m pretty happy with it with the amount of time we spent on it,” Kolesar said.
He added that he is still interested in website design and would even possibly consider it as a future career.
“I’m just kind of upset the school doesn’t have more classes like this,” Kolesar said.


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