Earlier this summer, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Career and Technical Education seniors were recognized across four sites.
Students enrolled in E2CCB CTE programming celebrated a number of ways, with the Ormsby Educational Center in East Aurora and Carrier Educational Center in Angola hosting curbside ceremonies; the Hewes Educational Center in Ashville holding an in-person, program-specific event over the course of two days; and the LoGuidice Educational Center in Fredonia hosting an in-person, outdoor event.
“Before I entered the Health Careers program I didn’t have a clue what I’d be doing by my senior year and I certainly didn’t have enough confidence to stand in front of a crowd and give a speech,” said Area 1 NY SkillsUSA Vice President Anna Pokoj of Dunkirk. “Now, like many of us, I can say my time in a Career and Technical Education program has led me to find my true potential.”
Pokoj, who is enrolling Damen College for the pre-med program, will join thousands of CTE graduates across the state who will be furthering their education in their programs or entering the workforce directly.
Jake Brach, Manager-Culinary Learning & Development for Rich Products for the last 18 years, was also recognized at the Ormsby Educational Center ceremony for his work with the Culinary Arts program.
“Jake has been a positive influence over the past 15 years on the many students of the Culinary Arts progam at the Ormsby Center,” said Chef Greg Babcock of the Ormsby Educational Center. “He has helped prepare my ProStart teams for competition on several occasions and has donated product for fundraising purposes.”
Special presenters included NYS Trooper Senior Investigator Matthew Stegner, a ’94 Ormsby graduate, who awarded Teresa Welker of East Aurora with the Matthew Stegner Award given to the top Criminal Justice student, and Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone who spoke during the Hewes Educational Center ceremony.
“You’ve learned this curriculum in the Criminal Justice program prepares you for more than just a law enforcement career. There are so many opportunities out there and we are struggling to find employees,” Quattrone said. “I truly believe the criminal justice system in the United States is the best in the world but it still needs some work. This moment is truly the beginning of your educational career. It doesn’t mean you have to go to college, but you should not stop learning. Learning is a lifelong process. This will create opportunities for you and when you have opportunities it pushes you further and makes you want to find a way to better the system and ourselves, that’s what I encourage you to do.”