Raiza Farfan, alum
WCC Honors College honoree
Positive BOCES experience allows alum to shine
As a student at White Plains High School, Raiza Farfan noticed some students would leave school during the day and wondered why. She soon learned those students were attending BOCES and the Center for Career Services.
Little did she know this observation would help find a path for her future. Ms. Farfan was accepted into the Honors College at Westchester Community College and plans to become an architect. She attributes her success to her time at BOCES.
After looking into what courses BOCES had to offer, Ms. Farfan was attracted by the idea that students worked toward a specific career and classes were more hands-on than the teacher lecture she was used to at her home school.
She investigated both the Pre-Engineering, and Architecture and Interior Design classes.
“I loved all the creativity and the projects they did,” Ms. Farfan said. “I am more of a hands-on person, which is what led me to the architecture program.”
During her two years at BOCES, as part of her school work, she collaborated with students in the Pre-Engineering class to work on joint projects. One involved designing floor plans for a pizzeria.“That definitely opened my eyes. I really wanted to do this in the future,” Ms. Farfan said.
In addition, she and her classmates worked on a similar project with cosmetology students. In this instance, she helped to design a salon, creating floor designs, and interior decorating plans. She created a story board and developed a budget to furnish the business. In her first year, Ms. Farfan worked on designing two salons. Her second, due to her admitted over-achiever tendencies, she designed four.
“Our projects would collide with their projects,” Ms. Farfan said of students in other disciplines at BOCES.The hands-on work together with opportunities to meet other students, is part of what made BOCES so special for her. She said the experience helped her to develop a sense of confidence and feel more comfortable meeting new people. She also credits the support from BOCES teachers and staff.
“I definitely feel surer of myself, I’ve grown out of my shell,” she said.
While at BOCES, she was involved in planning special events, such as helping put together the annual Haunted Hallway event. She served as president of the National Technical Honor Society and as vice president of SkillsUSA.
Ms. Farfan, now a freshman at WCC, said she was notified she qualified for the Honors College at WCC over the summer. She was required to fill out an application and have an interview. She was one of 12 students, out of 50 who submitted applications, to be accepted.
“I was really excited,” she said when learning she would be part of this exclusive group.
Honors College members must maintain a 3.5 GPA and take eight honors courses in order to be eligible for graduation with an Honors-Designated Degree.
Ms. Farfan is currently enrolled in the Liberal Arts-Social Science track. Throughout her first semester she took English 101 Honors, Political Science Honors, Calculus 1 and Architectural Drawing.
For her drawing class, Ms. Farfan said she feels she has an advantage over her classmates due to her studying the subject at BOCES. She is familiar with the terms and has been able to finish assignments faster because she recognizes the material.
Her goal is to become an architect one day. Following her time at WCC, she hopes to attend the New York Institute of Technology to study architecture.
When she was not busy with her school work, Ms. Farfan was a member of her home school’s swim and track teams. She continues to practice Marinera Norteña, a Peruvian cultural dance. The cultural dance is a way for her to stay connected to her roots. Ms. Farfan was born in Cusco, Peru, and came to this country when she was 4.
“She was definitely one of the hardest working students,” Christine Ireland, who teaches Architecture at BOCES, said. “She had a really good attitude about everything. She could always be relied on to lead an activity or an event.”