2021 Recognition Ceremony

Career Services’ 2021 virtual Recognition Ceremony to debut on June 10

This school year has been all about flexibility, cooperation and finding new ways to do old things. This includes the 2021 Recognition Ceremony at the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Center had to once again decide how best to celebrate its 12th-grade students. This year, program-specific ceremonies allowed the seniors to celebrate together. 

Pre-pandemic, the ceremony took place in-person at the Westchester County Center. Last year, the ceremony was held virtually. Students submitted photos, which were assembled in a video montage that included pre-recorded messages from school administrators. However, this year, that option was not available. Director Dahlia Jackson had to quickly develop a different way to host a ceremony for the deserving students. 

Her idea was to turn the large on-campus conference room into a “mini auditorium.” Each program would have its own ceremony that would be recorded, along with pre-recorded speeches from school administrators. These mini-ceremonies enabled students to celebrate their achievement with friends and will allow families to view their child’s specific ceremony when the completed video of the event is shared online. 

During the planning process, Ms. Jackson kept abreast of the most recent COVID guidelines to determine how many socially distanced students and teachers the conference room could accommodate.  

“We wanted to be able to provide our students that have survived this year with something positive to look back at,” Ms. Jackson said.  

Although the ceremony was subdued, students still had fun celebrating not only their own accomplishments, but that of their classmates as well. Many cheered and clapped as, one by one, they received their certificate. Some had fun hamming for the camera and elbow bumping their friends and teachers.

Culinary Arts student Marcelo Rosales, a senior at Harrison High School, was selected to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Following graduation, he will be joining the Army and hopes to serve in recognizance. He said he was surprised to have been selected to record the pledge and appreciated the honor.

“Since I was little, I was always fascinated with becoming a soldier, serving a higher cause,” Marcelo said, adding he eventually would like to use his culinary skills to open a restaurant.

The virtual ceremony will be shared on the Careers website on Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m. for students and families to watch.