Architecture students represent SWBOCES at statewide Expo

CTE students get rare opportunity to speak on behalf of difference-making program

student and teacher talk to assemblymanThe marble lobby at the Legislative Office Building in Albany was clad in BOCES logos as representatives from across New York State showcased for state officials the cooperative services that serve students and families and provide cost-efficient options for school districts.

Matthew Dalponte of White Plains and Alessandro Vaccaro of Ardsley represented Southern Westchester BOCES and the Architecture program at the Center for Career Services. They were part of a local delegation to BOCES Expo 2024, which provided an entirely new experience for both young men.

students and teacher talk to visitors to their table"I think it's very cool to come to a place like this and to show what I do," said Matthew, a senior who is headed to Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston in the fall. "It gives me hope that they (legislators) can help by supporting my class because I really love my class."

Matthew spent a good part of the day counseling Alessandro, a junior in the program, on making the most of the CTE experience. Both felt nerves about the experience of public speaking, but, encouraged by Teacher Jon Arras and Assistant Principal Phil Donohue, they answered visitors' questions and offered insights into the value their CTE education has for their continued studies and career plans.

students and teachers on marble stairwell

"It was a little intimidating," Alessandro admitted.

He said his friends at his home school aren't always aware of all that BOCES offers, and he often finds himself dispelling negative perceptions. For him, BOCES is a stepping stone to college, whether he pursues architecture or a trade where the design skills he is learning will be valuable.

Some 150 representatives of 33 of the state's 37 BOCES were on hand for the event, presenting such diverse programs as Power Sports & Agricultural Mechanics, Outdoor and Environmental Education and Mental Health Consortium, Engineering, Electrical Trades and more.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, opened the event by expressing gratitude for the work that BOCES do for students. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Steve Otis took the time to chat with members the SWBOCES contingent, one of several visitors throughout the day.