Career & Tech students shine at end-of-year celebration

Nearly 400 Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Center students were honored on Wednesday, June 7 during a ceremony that celebrated their success in academics and preparing for the workforce.

With caregivers, friends, school and BOCES administrators looking on, students from two-dozen school districts ranging from Guilderland to Watervliet, Cobleskill to Shenendehowa, and Bethlehem to Schenectady were celebrated during a ceremony at Proctors in Schenectady.

Two students in blue graduation regalia, one student fixes the tassel of the other student.
RSC seniors Brendan Leonard (right) helps fix Jake Porter’s cap before the Albany CTE ceremony.

The ceremony marked the completion of one- and two-year programs at the school, including diesel technology, culinary, cosmetology, building trades, criminal justice, network cabling, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), carpentry, and automotive technology.

Speaker after speaker praised the graduates for going above and beyond to secure bright futures.

Principal Shelette Pleat told the scholars “you have a combination of book smarts, skills from trades and street smarts. You bring the full package.”

“Continue to do what you love and do it with passion,” she added.

Six students in blue graduation regalia smile at the camera.
Students from the Global Fashion program pose for a photo before the ceremony.

Many of the graduates are going on to college and trade schools; still, others are going straight into the workforce thanks to the skills they learned and the connections they made at BOCES.

Among them is Tucker Cherry, an Automotive Trades Technology graduate from Niskayuna.

“The best thing BOCES did for me was help me land a job at Capitaland Subaru,” said Cherry. “Thanks to my amazing teacher, I learned just about everything I needed to know to begin a career as an automotive technician and now I have the place to do it.

Also joining the workforce through a BOCES business partner is Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program graduate Cameron Harless.

“I was hired by Crisafulli Brothers through BOCES. Attending BOCES has prepared me by teaching me not only the skills, but teamwork, good time management, and the importance of being respectful,” the Berne-Knox-Westerlo teen said.

Graduates pursuing further education include Allen Reome Jr. a Criminal Justice graduate who is attending SUNY Brockport to advance his career goals of being a New York State Trooper, and Jade O’Campo, a Culinary Arts and Hospitality Tech graduate attending the Culinary Institute of America.

Reome said “I have wanted to be a trooper since I was young, so the Criminal Justice program was an easy pick for me two years ago. The hands-on work and the skills you learn have helped me advance towards my goal.” he said.

O’Campo said attending Capital Region BOCES gave her the recipe for culinary success.

An individual hands a student dressed in blue graduation regalia a plaque on stage.
BHBL senior Emily Burdikoff receives the SkillsUSA Student of the Year award.

“Attending BOCES got me a job (at 30 Park in Clifton Park), sent me to college, and got me scholarships. What more is there to say?” said O’Campo. 

In addition to the completion ceremony, scholarship awards were given out to students to support their continued education or careers. 

  • Caden Rourke Memorial Scholarship – Dylan Sweeney, Shenendehowa, Diesel Tech
  • Gregory J. Knorr Memorial Award – Logan Karrel, Mohonasen, HVAC/R
  • Mike Todd Award – Ethan Morrell, Schoharie, Welding
  • Penske Truck Leasing Scholarship – Michael Demarco, Mohonasen, Diesel Tech
  • Outstanding Student of the Year Award 2023 – Emily Tice, Guilderland, Culinary Arts
  • Student of the Year Nominees – Angelina Bermudez, Mohonasen, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers; Emily Burdikoff, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Digital Media Design; Jocelyn Howe, Mohonasen, Global Fashion and Design; Ruby Sutphin, Shenendehowa, Cosmetology and Emily Tice, Guilderland, Culinary
  • SkillsUSA Area III Scholarship – Tessa Venditti, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Cosmetology, and Emily Tice, Guilderland, Culinary Arts
  • SkillsUSA Student of the Year – Emily Burdikoff, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Digital Media Design
  • The Curtis Lumber Award – Jake Porter, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Building Trades
  • The Jay Frankel Award – Daniel Ralston, Guilderland, Building Trades
  • The Joe Fuchs Award – Gary Whitworth Jr., Schalmont, Carpentry Services
  • The John Puglisi Electrical Trades Award – Braeden Kennedy, Guilderland, Electrical Trades
  • The William Kress Humanitarian Award 2023 – Jacob Gilmore, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers

Students were also recognized for their achievements in the classroom:

Automotive Trades II

  • Outstanding Student – Joe Spendiff
  • Growth in Achievement – Devon Blunt
  • Academic Achievement – Shane Scully

Auto Services

  • Outstanding Student – Nicholas St. Louis
  • Growth in Achievement – Alex Brody
  • Outstanding Student  – Jeremy Chrysler
  • Growth in Achievement – Merrick R. McDonald
  • Academic Achievement – Landen Dayton


  • Outstanding Student – Tucker Cherry
  • Growth in Achievement – Richie Martin
  • Academic Achievement – Jacob Travis

Building Trades II

  • Outstanding Student – Jake Porter
  • Growth in Achievement -Aidan Conti
  • Outstanding Student – Daniel Ralston

Network Tech.

  • Outstanding Student – Nick Forezzi
  • Academic Achievement – Tyler Cieszynski
  • Outstanding Student – Mike Hinkle
  • Growth in Achievement – Zachary Geurtze
  • Academic Achievement  – Cody Sherwood

Carpentry Services

  • Outstanding Student – Joshua Everitt
  • Outstanding Student- Tycere Jackson
  • Growth in Achievement – Christian Quinones
  • Growth in Achievement – Gary Whitworth Jr.

Auto Body Collision Repair

  • Outstanding Student – Phillip Ramos
  • Academic Achievement – Gill Irvine
  • Growth in Achievement – Luke DaBiere


  • Outstanding Student – Ruby Sutphin
  • Growth in Achievement – Olivia Goodman
  • Academic Achievement – Molly Foote
  • Outstanding Student – Olivia Harris
  • Growth in Achievement – Meghan Roberson
  • Academic Achievement – Jillian Fordley

Criminal Justice II

  • Outstanding Student – Heaven Carter
  • Outstanding Student – Krista Katsoudas
  • Growth in Achievement – Allison Evans
  • Academic Achievement – Ashley Santibanez

Culinary I 

  • Outstanding Student – Jocelyn Soto
  • Growth in Achievement – Matthew Swann
  • Growth in Achievement – Abiola Samuel

Culinary II

  • Outstanding Student – Jade O’Campo
  • Growth in Achievement – Emma Kleinke
  • Academic Achievement Jenna Rappazzo
  • Outstanding Student – Pedro Sanchez
  • Growth in Achievement – Raegan LaFountain
  • Academic Achievement – Emily Tice

Digital Media Design II

  • Outstanding Student – Emily Burdikoff
  • Academic Achievement – Riley Ertelt

Early Childhood Education

  • Academic Achievement – Jazmin Lawson

Electrical Trades II

  • Outstanding Student – Braedon Kennedy
  • Growth in Achievement – Colby Locci
  • Academic Achievement – George Allard

Entertainment Technology II

  • Outstanding Student – Niya Schroeder
  • Growth in Achievement – Bryan Reed
  • Academic Achievement  – Michael Egan

Food Services

  • Outstanding Student – Jaina Rakoczy
  • Growth in Achievement – Joseph LoBosco

Game Design and Implementation II

  • Outstanding Student – Zachary Casso
  • Growth in Achievement –  Vincent Unser
  • Academic Achievement – Tyler Furgason
  • Outstanding Student – Matthew Burns
  • Growth in Achievement – Ayeyi Praize Brooks
  • Academic Achievement – Romeo Turpin

Global Fashion

  • Outstanding Student – Jocelyn Howe
  • Growth in Achievement – Mahdia Mehr
  • Academic Achievement – Cody Lawrence

Two-Year Sequence of Health Careers

  • Outstanding Student – Dominic Wagner
  • Growth in Achievement – Christopher Spellen
  • Academic Achievement – Navita Mahase
  • Outstanding Student – Kayla Macklin
  • Outstanding Student – Aiden Tvelia
  • Growth in Achievemen – Lisa Cater
  • Academic Achievement –  Brianna Venditti 


  • Outstanding Student – Logan Karrel
  • Growth in Achievement – James VanBuskirk
  • Academic Achievement – John Brown

Machining and Manufacturing II

  • Outstanding Student – Brandon Matott
  • Growth in Achievement – Kevin Fountain
  • Academic Achievement – Blae Kinzie

Diesel Tech

  • Outstanding Student – Michael DeMarco
  • Growth in Achievement – Connor Seligman
  • Growth in Achievement – Benjamin Rosbozom

Pet Tech

  • Outstanding Student -Yuleisy Hernandez-Negron
  • Growth in Achievement – Malachi Williams
  • Academic Achievement – Isaiah Foster-Rogers
  • Outstanding Student – Connor Paolelli
  • Growth in Achievement – Kiara Alvarez
  • Academic Achievement – Madison Mabin


  • Outstanding Student – Emily Mickle
  • Growth in Achievement – Elizabeth Lorini
  • Academic Achievement – Liam Bartholomew

Sterile Processing 

  • Outstanding Student – Emily Hainey
  • Growth in Achievement – Jadaya Rondon
  • Academic Achievement – LilyAnne Trano

Vocational Training 

  • Outstanding Student – Deloni Burden
  • Growth in Achievement – Eric Propper
  • Academic Achievement – Charles McClure


  • Outstanding Student – Zachary O’Connor
  • Growth in Achievement – Parker Macri
  • Academic Achievement – Zachary Hilt