Michelle Novominski was considering a career in healthcare, possibly as a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist, when a job shadowing opportunity with her aunt arose. The experience settled her on the latter choice.
For a lot of high school students like her, the journey would start there. For this Edgemont senior who is eyeing either Pace University or CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, though, the journey was well under way. For one thing, she’ll complete SWBOCES’ two-year Emergency Medical Services program in June and earn her EMT certification.
“When I first heard about the program and the opportunity to take classes, I was really intrigued,” she said. “I looked into what the program offered, specifically the EMS program, and I also learned we could gain college credits as well.”
“It definitely made a big difference for me educationally and personally as well,” she added. “It gave me a lot of skills and experience through the program. I learned a lot about how to treat patients.”
Ms. Novominski is currently president of the state HOSA Future Health Professionals, an international career and technical student organization. She is also a Red Cross-certified lifeguard and a volunteer at White Plains Hospital.
She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society at SWBOCES’ Career and Technical Education campus in Valhalla, where she takes her EMS classes. At Edgemont, she is a member of the varsity swim team and the mental health awareness club.
"A big reason why I decided to take classes at BOCES is that it will give me the skills to work right out of high school in order to support myself while continuing my education in the medical field," she said.
She admits BOCES isn’t something every student considers, but it has made a real difference for her in her education. For one thing it has presented her with leadership opportunities, including her role with HOSA, but also less formally in supporting students new to the program or in leading group projects.
At the same time it has expanded her personal network, letting her get to know like-minded students from different high schools. Students at BOCES focus on getting hands-on skills, and everyone supports each other and works as a team in order to succeed, she says.
"I was able to meet and build connections with a lot of students. They come from different high schools and backgrounds. I’ve built these amazing connections,” she said. “ Without BOCES, I never would have met these amazing students.”
What would she tell someone unfamiliar with BOCES about the value of programs like hers? That’s easy. For students who want the training to allow them to go straight into a career, it’s a great fit. For those unsure of what they want to do, BOCES helps them find their passion.
And for students like herself, for whom college is the next step, BOCES offers a head start on attaining the skills she'll need. The best part about taking classes at BOCES, she says, is that "you get the hands on experience you might not get in your home school."
“Getting that hands-on feel of doing something I really love is amazing,” she said.