Ulster BOCES Young Scholar Excels at Hudson Valley Pathways Academy P-Tech High School

Ulster BOCES Young Scholar Excels at Hudson Valley Pathways Academy P-Tech High School

When Averyanna Thomas attended an information session about the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) at Ulster BOCES with her Grade 8 Kingston City School District class, she immediately knew that it would be a good fit for her. Thomas is now a Chapter 4 (4th year) young scholar at HVPA and is happy with her decision.

“The program is structured, but it is more laid back than a typical environment,” Thomas explained. “I think that students here have an advantage over the traditional high school experience. I already have 45 college credits, and I am only in my fourth year.”

HVPA is a six-year Pathways to Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program located on the SUNY Ulster campus in Stone Ridge. The program, which is modeled on a college-prep program that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), also provides required credits in English Language Arts and Social Studies. Through HVPA, young scholars are able to earn an associate’s degree from SUNY Ulster (at no cost to them) while in high school and also gain valuable workforce readiness skills and connections that will put them first in line for available positions with industry partners.

 “HVPA offers an innovative space designed to foster leadership, creativity, multiple literacies, global citizenship, and self-direction,” explains Principal Amy Storenski. "A crew-like culture and structure supports every young scholar's learning, growth, and a sense of belonging."

    Thomas started at HVPA in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the need for working remotely, Thomas found that the program offered many hands-on learning opportunities. “The teachers were wonderful!” she remembered. “They would deliver supplies, like parts for a small robotics kit, to our homes, and we were able to use the materials to complete projects.” 

Through her enrollment at HVPA, Thomas was also able to complete the two-year Cisco & Cybersecurity program at the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center, a program she was interested in and understood the value of through her brother and cousin’s past participation.

As Thomas completes her fourth year at HVPA in June, her educational journey has taken an unexpected but exciting turn. She’s been offered scholarships to two prestigious four-year colleges, where she will be able to pursue her passion for bowling, an interest she has had since she was five years old and was nurtured by watching and learning from her father, also a lifelong bowler. Thomas now bowls in a local league and competes in regional and national tournaments. Every year, she places first in a national tournament called ‘Junior Gold.’ This July, Thomas will travel to Michigan for the tournament. 

Thomas now faces the challenging decision of choosing between Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, and McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. Her family is thrilled with her opportunities, and the faculty at HVPA could not be prouder of her accomplishments over the four years she has been a part of the Ulster BOCES community.

"Averyanna is a dedicated and diligent student who truly stood out in my IT class," said Dr. Kathy Landers, instructor of Cisco & Cybersecurity at Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Education Center. "Her unwavering commitment to learning and strong work ethic were commendable. Averyanna consistently went above and beyond, not only promptly completing assignments but also seeking additional challenges. Beyond her academic achievements, she exhibited a high level of professionalism. Her passion for technology and ability to balance work with a positive attitude made her an invaluable asset to the classroom," Dr. Landers shared. 

Thomas, who has thrived in the alternative setting created at HVPA, has some advice for students considering enrolling in HVPA. “I would suggest to anyone who might be curious about what we do here to look at the program on the Ulster BOCES website, but to also come and shadow a student for the day,” she said. She also suggests that interested students should take a tour with their parents to get a first-hand glimpse of the energy and community environment created at HVPA.

“I would absolutely recommend HVPA to anyone,” she continued. “I hope to become a lawyer one day, but I know the skills that I’m learning right now will help me no matter what direction I choose.”

For more information about HVPA, call 845.688.6117 or visit www.ulsterboces.org.

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