Class of 2020 Graduates in First-Of-Their-Kind Virtual Ceremonies

Hundreds of Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School students from districts as far-flung as Amsterdam, Cobleskill, Cohoes and Shenendehowa graduated  this June during a series of virtual ceremonies.

The first-of-their-kind events for Capital Region BOCES marked the closing of a school year that featured a series of firsts, including the epic task of turning an hands-on education for students into a virtual one. 

With family, friends and school administrators watching via a virtual platform, seniors from the Albany, Schoharie and Center for Advanced Technology campuses were honored during virtual ceremonies on June 23, 24 and 25.

Most of the students – typically more than 70 percent – will pursue college or technical school; others will go directly into the workforce into high-paying jobs they were recruited for while at BOCES.

The students completed more than three dozen programs ranging from auto body repair to welding, electrical trades, game design, network cabling and certified nurse assistant.

Speaker after speaker praised the graduates for going above and beyond to secure bright futures while also dealing with the upheaval caused by a worldwide pandemic.

“You have completed a remarkable journey and overcome one of the greatest obstacles we have ever seen at the end of your senior year. Your resilience has been on full display as the global pandemic upended education and brought learning completely online,” said District Superintendent Anita Murphy.

“The very fact that you have completed what is largely considered hands-on training through a virtual means shows how dedicated you are to ensuring your own bright futures!”

Jeff Palmer, director of Career and Technical Education thanked the students for their dedication to their education.

“Thank you for the great perseverance and ingenuity you have shown during these unprecedented times, when your education was unexpectedly and without warning shifted from the laboratories and classrooms of CTE to your living rooms and kitchens. Without your understanding and strong work ethic, we would not be here today congratulating you and wishing you all a great future,” he said.

Each campus also presented a series of awards. These include:

Albany Campus

  • Outstanding  Student of the Year Award 2020 — Aidan Enders, Diesel Tech, Duanesburg  
  • The Dawn Peacock Award — Caroline Lukasik, Shenendehowa, Culinary Arts
  • The William Kress Humanitarian Award 2020 – $300 check — Kierra Blair-Leak, Internet Applications Design, Cohoes.
  • The Joe Fuchs Award — Ashley Slingerland, Food Services, Schenectady City Schools
  • The Tech Prep Award Schenectady County Community College — a $500 renewable scholarship award to SUNY SCCC — Alec Walsh, Schalmont
  • The Springwater Bistro Culinary Award — Earl Page, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Technology of Mohonasen, Jordan Stone, Culinary Arts Tech Prep of Cohoes, Taylor Lange, Culinary Arts Tech Prep of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk.
  • The SkillsUSA Student of the Year — Aidan Enders, Diesel Tech, Duanesburg
  • SkillsUSA Area III Scholarship — Justin Colucci, Criminal Justice, Duanesburg.
  • The Red Cross Scholarship — Justin Firstiun, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, Patient Care Assistant/Home Health Aide
  • Mike Todd Award — Isaac Sorell, Shenendehowa, Welding and Metal

Center for Advanced Technology

  • Outstanding Student of the Year — Zachary Smith, Game Design & Implementation, Guilderland
  • Gregory J. Knorr Memorial Award for Exceptional Citizenship and Character — Callie Hempstead, Manufacturing and Machining Technology, Berne-Knox-Westerlo
  • SkillsUSA Student of Year — Davie Penid, Game Design & Implementation, Niskayuna 
  • SklllsUSA Area III Scholarship — Davie Penid, Game Design & Implementation, Niskayuna

Schoharie Campus

  • Outstanding Students of the Year – Olivia Weingarten, Criminal Justice, Cobleskill-Richmondville and Reagan Smith, Commercial Construction/Heavy Equipment, Berne-Knox-Westerlo
  • Outstanding Career Portfolio Award – Alissa Winning, Cosmetology, Cobleskill-Richmondville
  • Joseph N. Fuchs Awards – Sarah Francis, Culinary, Schoharie, and Justin Pizzo, Commercial Construction, Cobleskill-Richmondville
  • SkillsUSA Award – Shane Campbell, Culinary, Cobleskill-Richmondville and Madison Bell, Criminal Justice, Schoharie
  • ProStart Award – Logan Stephens, Culinary, Middleburgh
  • Construction/Heavy Equipment Advisory Board Scholarship – Reagan Smith, Commercial Construction/Heavy Equipment, Berne-Knox-Westerlo
  • Schoharie Valley Region AACA Scholarship – Benjamin Gertzberg, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Automotive Trades
  • Richard A. Conklin Scholarship Award – Cody Becker, Commercial Construction/Heavy Equipment, Cobleskill-Richmondville
  • Bryant & Stratton Scholarship Award – Dominic Rotter, Criminal Justice, Schalmont