In 2008, Maggie O'Mara was a fresh-faced graduate of Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School (CTE) and the Guilderland Central School District. Today, she is training people how to cook and eat healthy at the Canyon Ranch, a luxury health and wellness spa located in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Thanks to her start at CTE, O'Mara has transformed from a high school graduate to a student of SUNY Delhi, a cook, a graduate of Johnson and Wales and now a master's degree holder in nutrition, dietetics and culinary entrepreneurship in less than a decade.
"Without BOCES, I wouldn't be where I am now. I wouldn't have gone to SUNY Delhi or graduated from Johnson and Wales...CTE really opened my eyes to all of these career options," the registered dietician said.
On Friday, O'Mara returned to CTE to help her former teachers judge students who were competing to represent BOCES in the school's SkillsUSA culinary competition.
"I got my start here and I feel it's a good example of what you can do with the education you receive here," she said about her annual pilgrimage to CTE.
"Attending CTE got me interested in culinary careers and it got my foot in the door to a great industry. I wouldn't be where I am had it not been for my time at Capital Region BOCES," O'Mara said.
Asked about what she does at the Canyon Ranch, O'Mara said she teaches guests how to eat and cook healthy and demonstrates proper nutrition techniques in the kitchen.
"It's really the best of both worlds. I am so thankful that I have been able to achieve what I have and thankful for the start that BOCES gave me," she said.