Ulster BOCES Brings Home Awards from State Competition

Ulster BOCES Brings Home Awards from State Competition

Ten young professionals from the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center came home with medals from the New York State SkillsUSA competition held at the Syracuse Fairgrounds in late April. The Ulster County competitors faced off against thousands of students from over 60 high schools throughout the state, competing in technical, trade, and leadership events. The young professionals also networked with their peers, as well as business and industry professionals. 

Young professionals who secured a first place win and will move on to compete in the National SkillsUSA Competition this summer in Georgia include Cosmo McIntosh (from Saugerties Central School District, who attends the Motorcycle Outdoor Power program) and Lucas Miller (also from Saugerties CSD, who is in the Automotive Technology Program). Marla McCain, a young professional from the Kingston City School District who attends the Fashion Design & Merchandising program also secured a first place finish at the State competition, however there is no category at the national event. 

Four young professionals brought home second place medals. Ian Vickery, who is from Saugerties CSD and attends the Ulster BOCES Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics program, earned his second place position in the 3-Axis Milling Programmer competition. Also on the podium for second place was a three-member team from the Criminal Justice program consisting of Evangeline Spampinato from the Wallkill Central School District, Mya Chevannes from the Ellenville Central School District, and Rodolfo Alarcon from the Kingston City School District. The trio earned their medals for their Crime Scene Investigation skills. 

A third place medal went to Kyle Walsh, from Wallkill Central School District, who attends the Motorcycle Outdoor Power program and competed in a new competition for Marine Service Technology. Two young professionals from the Cisco program also secured third place medals in the Robotics competition: Tavi Schneider, who attends the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy and is from New Paltz Central School District, and Elijah Anderson, also from the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy from the Kingston City School District. 

Bryce Buntyn, a young professional from the Onteora Central School District who attends the Aviation/Drone program, has also been elected vice president of the New York State chapter. 

The young professionals were not the only ones who received awards—nominated for her hard work as a lead advisor; Kate Weston, Workplace Learning Coordinator, was honored with the Area 4 Advisor of the Year award for her advocating for total participation. Last year, Weston played a crucial role in securing Ulster BOCES new designation as a "total participation school." This achievement meant integrating SkillsUSA participation into the Career & Technical Center experience for all young professionals. As a result, the members of SkillsUSA no longer need to purchase or fundraise for their uniforms or to participate in SkillsUSA competitions, as Ulster BOCES now covers these costs. This new designation removes financial barriers and provides equitable opportunities for anyone interested in participation. Weston's recognition highlights her significant contribution to creating inclusive opportunities for all students.

In addition, Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center principal Joseph Salamone was awarded the prestigious Cornerstone Award. This award recognizes a school administrator or board member who has shown dedication and commitment to NYS SkillsUSA. “Principal Salamone is a tireless advocate for SkillsUSA, promoting the framework and empowering staff and students at Ulster BOCES to access SkillsUSA resources,” says Weston, noting that Salamone supports advisory committees to build stronger programs and meaningful relationships between teachers, students, and industry partners, and attends multiple SkillsUSA events such as regional and state competitions, signing day, and Ulster BOCES SkillsUSA Leadership Day. “He is a true leader and an inspiration as an administrator, supporting NYS SkillsUSA, and ensuring we have a stronger workforce for the future.”

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure that the country has a skilled workforce. With more than 300,000 members nationwide, SkillsUSA promotes technical expertise, skill, and leadership. At Ulster BOCES, which is a “total participation school,” every young professional enrolled in the Career Pathways programs has a membership and is able to participate in activities offered, and has had cost barriers removed. Ulster BOCES secured the designation as a “total participation school” as part of its deeply rooted commitment to ensuring all young professionals have the same opportunity to build their skills and confidence in the workforce. 

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