Middle School Week brings potential students to campus

Southern Westchester BOCES’ Valhalla campus opened its doors to 205 seventh- and eighth-grade students during Middle School Week. Over the course of three days, students from various component districts had the opportunity to shadow current Career and Technical Education (CTE) students as they learned about different career options and became acquainted with the campus. 

Middle School Week is held the third week of March each year and is an event the CTE counseling team looks forward to. They have watched it grow over the years from less than a handful of students in attendance to groups of students participating in multiple classroom activities.

Students from districts such as New Rochelle, Port Chester and SWBOCES’ Center for Special Services were introduced to the different programs that will be available to them once they enter their junior year of high school. 

“This week gives middle schoolers the opportunity to explore a career while also exposing them to the opportunities at CTE,” said Anna Macchia, School Counselor at SWBOCES.  

Prior to attending the event, students pre-selected the program they were interested in learning more about. Once they arrived on campus, they were greeted by SWBOCES counselors who provided a short presentation. They were then paired with BOCES students who provided a tour of their classrooms and assisted in activities.

Culinary Arts student Shyla Holguin, a junior at Harrison High School, led a group of middle school students through the kitchens where they donned chef’s coats in preparation for the day’s lesson. She was one of a handful of CTE students chosen by school counselors to lead tours.

“I hope they get that it’s about hands-on learning,” said Shyla, an aspiring pastry chef. “This is a chance to find out if they like this career path.”

The visitors spent approximately an hour shadowing CTE students from their chosen program. This gave them a glimpse into their possible futures and allowed them to ask questions.

“The idea is to get kids thinking about the CTE path earlier so they have more time to think about whether it is the right fit for them,” said Ms. Macchia.