A trio of students with career paths as divergent as an engineer, pet care specialist and New York State trooper have been named Capital Region BOCES SkillsUSA students of the Year.
During graduation ceremonies this month, Manufacturing and Machining Technology graduate, Caitlin Atkinson, won the honor for the Center for Advanced Technology at Mohonasen Campus while Pet Tech graduate, Ashlyn Knapp, won the honor for the Career and Technical School, Albany Campus and Chloe-Jean Thomas won the award for the Schoharie Campus.
The SkillsUSA Student of the Year honor is given to the student on each Career and Technical School campus who best exemplifies SkillsUSA by their leadership and service to others, participation in all facets of the organization, and dedication and diligence to their vocation.
Atkinson, who attended BOCES from the Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District, took part in BOCES’ inaugural CTE Signing Day and is working at BOCES business partner PackageOne. She will attend SUNY Alfred in the fall for their manufacturing program with an eye on becoming an environmental or industrial engineer.
“BOCES is a good experience. The teachers know what they are talking about because they have done it and they prepare you well through their teaching and work-based learning for your career or future learning,” Atkinson said.
Knapp, who attended BOCES from South Colonie, will head to SUNY Delhi this fall where she will student Veterinary Technology.
“BOCES has given me so much knowledge and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise in a traditional school setting,” she said of her time in the Two-Year Pet Tech program on the Career and Technical School, Albany Campus.
Thomas, who attended from Middleburgh, is planning to work in security while saving money to attend SUNY Cobleskill in pursuit of a degree in canine training. She would ultimately like a career as a New York State Trooper canine handler.
“Everything I learned at BOCES will help me on my way to becoming a police officer. I feel like when I go to college, I will have a better understanding of topics than my classmates,” Thomas said.
SkillsUSA is a career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school and students. The organization promotes personal and professional growth and offers students the opportunity to compete at the local, regional, state and national levels. The organization also promotes giving back to the community, which locally results in collections each year for food pantries and city missions.