Careers campus welcomes students back for 2021-22
Students filed off buses and into Building B, where they were greeted by teachers and administrators, had their temperature scanned and were given copies of their schedules and directions to class.
This first day of school could have been an even more momentous return than it was, what with the ongoing pandemic and the desire by so many to get "back to normal." However, things have been close to normal for some time at the CTE campus in Valhalla. Programs here hosted students in person from the very start last year. Remote instruction was utilized when needed, such as during student quarantines, but hands-on skills were mostly taught hands-on.
So while it's good to be back, folks here are quick to point out that they've been back.
"We've been here. We’re ready. We’re probably more ready than anyone else," Automotive Collision instructor Paul Casagrande said.
Michael Ward had 34 student in his Automotive Technology class last year and expects about the same this year. COVID hit Westchester first in 2020, and these kids know what to expect, Mr. Ward said. They know they can face any challenge and get through it, Mr. Ward said.
Automotive instruction works best in person, but there is an online curriculum ready to go. Videos and animated content make it interactive and engaging.
Animal Science instructor Michael D’Abruzzo had more early arriving students than most. He talked to them about the classroom's new aquarium and the prospects for putting salt-water fish in it. He held a small parrot up for his students as he talked about what to expect from the school year ahead.
"Besides learning things that will help you get into an entry level (position), we try to keep the room stocked with what are pet animals," Mr. D'Abruzzo said. "It will give you a lot more experience handling animals which will make you a lot more employable."
Emergency Medical Services instructor Robert Del Greco is excited to get to work. Like other classes, his had only a few students arriving on day one. And like most teachers here, he knows more will arrive every day as the fall term gets under way. Across the hall, Cosmetology II instructor Laura Mirabel and three second-year students were prepping for the first day of class. They expressed enthusiasm about the year ahead.
"The fact that we are in class and able to see each other instead of over a computer, we can just get to know each other " Ms. Mirabel said of the reason for her optimism. "I just love this class. It’s just so amazing to see these kids grow."