Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center recognized 408 Ulster County students who completed their trades’ technical endorsement requirements during 22 live Senior Tribute Ceremonies held on June 10 via Zoom. Friends and family are now invited to participate in the celebratory industry-related commencement ceremonies via YouTube Premier on Tuesday, June 16, at 7 PM.
The BOCES career areas each presented business sector-related keynote speakers and featured highlights including words of hope and wisdom from the school’s valedictorian, salutatorian, principal’s award recipient, and school administrators. Principal Amy Storenski, and Assistant Principal Robert Knuschke.
Andrew Westervelt, an Electrical Construction & Maintenance student from the Kingston City School District, was named valedictorian of the Ulster BOCES’ Class of 2020. Westervelt has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills that have earned him the respect of his classmates, says his instructor Robert Jones. “Andrew is truly a special all-around person, who is always kind, thoughtful, and selfless,” he adds.
Westervelt was one of two students invited to be part of the second annual Kingston Design Connection’s 2019 Showhouse. He also volunteered his technical skills with some of his classmates on Saturdays to help a local family become homeowners through an Ulster County Habitat for Humanity project. When he wasn’t in class, participating in a community service-based project, or involved in a historical home redesign, Westervelt could be found honing his skills in the Career & Technical Center fixing equipment like the health care programs’ hospital beds.
As for his future goals, Westervelt says he is looking for employment as an intern with a New York State registered electrical repair company to gain his journeyman status. Westervelt’s ultimate goal is to become a master electrician. He says his two years in the Electrical Construction & Maintenance program was time well spent. “The program has been a good jump start to learn the things you need to know to get started in this field. Also, having [Ulster] BOCES on my resume will be helpful in getting a job.”
The Career & Technical Center has no shortage of students who shine. The 2020 salutatorian Landon Haight, from the Highland Central School District, has earned top honors by excelling in the Cisco & Cybersecurity program. Haight has gained extensive skills in computer hardware, operating systems, networking, and cybersecurity. He can also list four industry certifications on his resume, and through the program, he has earned six college credits from SUNY Ulster. Haight will attend Dutchess Community College in the fall to explore his options in statistics.
Principal’s award recipient Kaitlyn Ronk, from the Rondout Valley Central School District, has spent her junior and senior year in the Cosmetology program. Ronk is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and is the president of the school’s SkillsUSA club. She attributes receiving the recognition to hard work and her dedication to the Ulster BOCES community for the past two years. “I worked to keep my grades up, make sure I had an all-around great attitude in school and out of school, and just be involved with anything and everything that I could for school,” Ronk says.
Principal Storenski offered these thoughts about this very special group of students: “The graduating Class of 2020 has been through so much these past few months. The graduates have missed out on many events, memories, and milestones. Their steadfast determination to complete the year despite all of the challenges of COVID-19 is an exceptional example for future Ulster BOCES students–a precedent that won’t be forgotten. Please take what you have learned at the Career & Technical Center and use it as a tool to forge your future.”
Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center (CTE) students include juniors and seniors from throughout the eight component school districts in Ulster County. More than 900 students attend each year with Ulster BOCES CTE achieving a 99 percent graduation rate in 2019. Learn more about Ulster BOCES Career Technical Center here.
- Career & Technical Education (CTE)