Ulster BOCES Names Valedictorian & Salutatorian

Ulster BOCES Names Valedictorian & Salutatorian

Onteora student Spencer Estes has been named the valedictorian of the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center’s Class of 2019. Spencer, the son of Peter Estes and Karen Wemple-Estes of Shokan, studied Digital Design and Programming at the Career & Technical Center’s Port Ewen campus. 

Speaking of his course of study, Spencer said, “We learn different computer programming languages, and the best way to learn that is to have fun, so we make games.”

For his senior project, “Tenebrosity," Spencer collaborated with two other students, Onteora student Nicholas Boccio and Highland student Michael Muchrison, to create a 2D game. “The game was highly praised by his peers and is one of the best games we've had from the class,” said Spencer’s Ulster BOCES instructor, Taima Smith. “It combines platform mechanics with puzzle-solving and a touch of a horror aesthetic. I'm extremely proud of him, and I can't wait to hear about the incredible things he accomplishes as he moves forward!

When not hard at work in Port Ewen, Spencer pursued a challenging course schedule at Onteora, including AP Government, AP Calculus, and an independent study AP Computer Science course. He especially enjoyed his math classes. “Math is an interesting subject for me,” he said.

A talented musician, Spencer was previously involved in the Onteora Jazz Band, the Sounds of Jazz choral group, and the school musical, Les Misérables.

Outside of school, Spencer works at the Hickory BBQ & Smokehouse in Kingston. He also volunteers with his church.

After graduating, Spencer will do some traveling before starting classes at SUNY Ulster, where he plans to major in Computer Science.

In terms of career goals, Spencer said he would like to create video games. “It would also be nice to have my own company one day!” he said.

This year's salutatorian is Highland High School student Christian DiPrima. Christian is a student in the Custom Robotics Design & Manufacturing program. 

Christian plans to attend SUNY New Paltz in the fall where he will major in electrical engineering. He says Ulster BOCES provided him with technical skills and experience in specialized areas like 3D Printing, 3D CAD Software, and machining. He is also especially glad that he joined the Ulster BOCES “Rams,” a robotics team that participated in the New York Tech Valley Regional FIRST® Robotics competition, which he says was a great real-life experience. 

“There was a lot of teamwork. We were constantly working to improve the robot after every qualifying match and finding ways to quickly improve it,” explained Christian.

Christian is the son of Christopher and Marisa DiPrima of Highland.

Salutatorian Christian DiPrima.

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