Area teens celebrated for P-TECH scholarly pursuits

Thirteen area teenagers were honored on Wednesday for completing the first four years of the innovative Capital Region BOCES Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program.

During a ceremony at the Capital Region Chamber offices in Colonie, the high school graduates, some of whom simultaneously earned their associate’s degrees thanks to P-TECH, were recognized for taking on the rigorous task of pursuing a high school and college diploma simultaneously. 

Some of the graduates are going on to finish their associate’s degrees at Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) and SUNY Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), and others are pursuing four-year degrees at institutes of higher learning, but they all have one thing in common –deep gratitude for their experiences in P-TECH.

The 2023 P-Tech graduates gather for a photo

“I was the textbook student who wanted no place in learning. Had I not made the connections with the teachers and those involved in P-TECH, I would probably be the same person today,” said Kevin Cecchetto, a graduate who attended the program from Watervliet Junior-Senior High School.

Fellow graduate Jacob Aziz said without P-TECH, he wouldn’t have been able to earn his high school and college diplomas within a month of each other.

“Just last month, I had the privilege of graduating from SUNY Schenectady County Community College with an associate degree in computer science, a milestone that fills me with great pride and gratitude. This would not have happened had it not been for the P-TECH program,” he said.

Speaker after speaker praised the scholars for their hard work, diligence, and choice to travel a path less taken.

“I have been attending ceremonies like these for the past 15 years. When it comes to P-TECH, the accomplishments are never higher,” said Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D., Capital Region BOCES Senior Executive Officer.

Pamela McCall, Director of College and High School Partnerships at SUNY SCCC praised the graduates for “deciding to take hold of your future” at a young age.

“You all make it look easy,” she said.

The following students were recognized during the ceremony. The students’ names are listed followed by their home school district and the college they are either enrolled in through P-TECH or recently graduated from.

  • Jacob Aziz, Scotia-Glenville and SUNY Schenectady County Community College (SCCC)
  • Kayla Booney, Scotia-Glenville, and SCCC
  • Jesse Butler, Schalmont and SCCC
  •  Kevin Cecchetto, Watervliet and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC)
  • Gio D’Andreti, Schalmont, SCCC
  • Anthony DiMascio, Schalmont, SCCC
  • Paige Grimmick, Watervliet and HVCC
  • Hayden Harbers, Scotia-Glenville, and SCCC
  • Alyssa Ingle, Guilderland, and SCCC
  • Makyla Jacobs, Watervliet and HVCC
  • Jason LeBarge, Niskayuna and SCCC
  • Jahmaire Thom, Watervliet and HVCC
  • Derek Zieski, Berne-Knox-Westerlo and SCCC  

P-TECH is a four- to six-year program (grades 9-14) offered to students throughout the region through a consortium that includes Capital Region BOCES, the Capital Region Chamber, Hudson Valley Community College, and SUNY Schenectady County Community College.

The program provides pathways for students to earn free college degrees in Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and Cybersecurity.