WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Two hundred and seventy-three students from the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services in Valhalla walked across the White Plains County Center stage June 6 and accepted certificates from an array of career and technical education programs.
The annual Recognition Ceremony began with an introduction from Center Director Dahlia Jackson and followed with a greeting from salutatorian and Fashion Design/Merchandising Program graduate Yasmin Cisneros of New Rochelle High School. Jacob Romer, also of New Rochelle High School and a graduate of the BOCES TV/Video Production Program, delivered the Student Reflection.
The three-hour event included the presentation of outstanding student awards, including the Advanced Career and Technical Education Award and the Introduction to Career Trades Outstanding Student Award. Other special awards were handed out to deserving students, including awards that have been established to honor staff members or BOCES School Board members who dedicated their lives to the service of BOCES students, their education and to BOCES itself.
They included the Margaret Antonecchia Memorial Award, the Dree Atkins Memorial Award, the Stock Award for Culinary Excellence, the Dr. Colleen Murray Scholarship Award, the Southern Westchester Foundation Award/Scholarship and several others. Guest speaker and former BOCES graduate Sam Brecker told the graduates to follow their passion.
“I didn’t like school but I loved BOCES and I loved this class,” he said, referring to his enrollment in the Emergency Protective Services Program, which is taught by Ray Sulla, a retired NYPD detective.
Brecker, who currently serves as a police officer for the Village of Hastings, said he always wanted to work in law enforcement. He said his choice of career has provided him with much enrichment and the chance to help others
. “If you love what you do, it’s actually not work at all,” he said. “I followed my heart and I hope all of you will do the same.”