Demetrios Fantroy is not a fan of school.
But a stint in the Capital Region BOCES culinary program has turned his life around.
"I was held back a couple of times and I just couldn't focus," Fantroy
said during a recent visit to his culinary classroom where he
was peeling shrimp.
He entered the culinary program at Capital Region BOCES Career
and Technical School (CTE) as a Ravena
Coeymans Selkirk Central (RCS) School District student last year.
"Cooking focuses my mind. I can concentrate and it gives me new
experiences every day," said Fantroy.
"I came here as a student and I just loved it."
But being an older student still going to traditional high
school classes was not an optimal experience for him, even if it
allowed him to continue the BOCES program.
"It was just
weird being around all of the younger students and being treated
like a kid," said Fantroy.
As a result of that, Fantroy left RCS.
"I decided to leave RCS and enroll in the HSE [high school
equivalency] program here and take the
adult culinary program," Fantroy said.
The HSE program is offered by BOCES to students 17 years or
older who lack high school diplomas and have left school. The
instruction is done by a certified teacher in the five areas of
study to prepare for the HSE exam, which was previously known as
the GED or General Equivalency Degree exam.
"They are really good to me at BOCES and I get the experience
and education I need," he said.
When he is not taking the HSE program or the culinary program at
Capital Region BOCES, Fantroy can often be found in the kitchen
of Track 31, an Italian pub in Feura Bush where he is a line
"I love cooking
— it's something I did growing up with my
grandma," Fantroy said.
"Cooking is something I want to continue to do the rest of my
He hopes to advance that future after graduating from CTE in the
culinary program at Schenectady County Community College.
"If not, I want to keep plugging away and working my way up in
the restaurant industry."
CTE teacher Chef Paul Rother, who along with fellow teacher Chef
Paul Dolan, are mentoring Fantroy said, "He is a great kid. This
is just a great story and one that will have a good ending."
The photos show Fantroy doing what he loves — working in