Cohoes High School junior: Principal learning from me is ‘fun’

For some students, having your high school principal shadow your every move for 90 minutes might be a little disconcerting, but not for Cohoes High School junior Richard Shumway.

The student, who spends half of every school day learning to be a mechanic at the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center, welcomed Cohoes High School Principal Laura Tarlo to CTE and enjoyed teaching her about automotive repair.

“I like that it allows me to give my perspective as to why I like this program and gives me a chance to share my passion,” said Shumway while taking a break from rotating a tire.

Two students and a school principal share a conversation inside the garage next to a car hoisted on a jack.
Cohoes High School Principal Laura Tarlo shares a conversation with two automotive repair students.

Tarlo took part on Feb. 6 in the first-ever CTE Month Shadow a CTE Scholar Principals Challenge by spending a half-day with Shumway, learning what he does at BOCES. Principals and assistant principals from several area high schools will shadow this month—which is national Career and Technical Education Month—a scholar from their district as they learn at BOCES.

“It’s a great opportunity for our fellow educators to get in the trenches with our scholars and see firsthand all of the amazing things taking place here at Capital Region BOCES,” said Shelette Pleat, Principal of the Career and Technical Education Center – Albany Campus.

Shumway, who plans to further his education at either Hudson Valley Community College or Penn State and one day open his own automotive repair business, said having Tarlo learn from him at BOCES “was a lot of pressure.”

“However, it’s fun to show what I like about car repair,” he added.
Tarlo said she enjoyed the opportunity to learn about auto repair and learn more about CTE.

“I chose this because I have a lot of respect for Richard and I wanted to learn more about what he does here at BOCES,” she said. “I know nothing about cars other than I like what they look like, and I am enjoying learning something about repairing them.”

The Shadow a CTE Scholar Principals Challenge event is one of several initiatives taking place at Capital Region BOCES during February. The month is set aside nationally as a time when school communities celebrate programs designed to prepare students for the workforce or to pursue higher education.

Once an education path for students only seeking vocational skills, career and technical education is now a pathway for students looking to build career skills, get a head start on their college education or just learn a life skill that will allow them to pay for college. At the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Center, 97% of graduates enter the workforce and/or pursue college or technical school degrees.