Open House Provides Parents with Sneak Peak of Students' Work Annual Event Attracts 250 Visitors

Unlike typical high school open house events that tend to be a whirlwind of activities, with parents moving from classroom to classroom at a frantic pace, visitors who attended the SWBOCES Center for Career Services open school night Oct. 5 were treated to manicures, hair dos, student-cooked fare and more.

The annual fall event is a chance for teachers to showcase the many career and technical learning opportunities that students can avail of at the Valhalla campus.

It is generally open to the parents of current students, but visitors are also welcome.

Instructor Ray Sulla talks to parents of students in the Security, Law & Policing Program.

Retired New York Police Department detective Ray Sulla, who teaches the Security, Law & Policing class, talked about the importance of forensics to the program’s curriculum, including the documentation and evaluation steps that are necessary for police officers and others to take at the scene of a crime.

He said students are usually “fascinated” at the depth of information they learn in the program, which prepares them for careers as police officers, firefighters and first responders.

Aaron Young's parents look at their son's first project of the school year. Aaron is a first-year student in the Architecture/Interior Design/3D Art Program.

Aaron Young of Dobbs Ferry High School, a first-year student in the Architecture/Interior Design/3D Art Program, was happy to show off the work he had already completed during the first few weeks of school.

The class is currently learning about hospitality design and incorporating sustainability into their work, including reclaimed designs and ideas about geothermal energy, solar panels, LED lighting and more.

“They chose to create restaurants with their own themes, menu and look,” said instructor Christine Ireland, adding that the students are also using the design process to illustrate their ideas.

Michael D'Abruzzo, an instructor in the Veterinary Science Program, gives parents a run-down of the year's activities.

In the Veterinary Science Program, instructor Michael D’Abruzzo told parents that he views second-year students in his class as “teachers and leaders” who are not only helping first-year students but also learning a lot of new material that will prepare them for jobs in the veterinary science industry.

“A lot of my students are learning a lot of new things,” Mr. D’Abruzzo said. “If they really know the material, then they can master other skills.”

The class, he explained, will follow the program’s curriculum but will also be driven by the students’ interests. When a few of them recently expressed an interest in marine biology, Mr. D’Abruzzo told them he would install a fish tank in the classroom. He also plans to bring in additional animals to cater to the interests of the class.

Some of the delicious food cooked by students in the Culinary Arts Program, Chef Peter Tomaskovic speaks to a student and her mother about opportunities beyond the BOCES program, and another culinary arts student poses with her parents during the Open House event.

Chef Peter Tomaskovic explained the opportunities that students in the Culinary Arts Program can avail of once they complete the two-year program, including the chance to enroll in any number of upstate SUNY schools that have four-year culinary programs.

“They are at least half of what you would pay at a private college,” said Chef Tomaskovic.

Some students, he said, may prefer a country setting, while others may choose to study in an urban environment like Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, which many BOCES graduates have enrolled in.

“If you are focused on what you are doing, your surroundings shouldn’t really make a difference,” he told one student and her parents.

The parent of a student in Alyson Keane's Nursing Assistant Program pays a visit to her classroom.

Alyson Keane’s classroom also attracted a lot of visitors. Ms. Keane, a former nurse manager, runs the Nursing Assistant Program, which she said has grown by 40 percent in the last two years. The program provides students with instruction in human anatomy and physiology, as well as the soft skills they’ll need to work in medical offices and nursing homes.

Colorful swivel chairs and a widescreen TV are just two of the components of the new Cisco Academy classroom.

In the newly refurbished classroom in Building B, which is now known as the Cisco Academy, Cisco Systems engineer Mahfuzur Rahman explained the details of the program, which is initially being offered to adults through the BOCES Center for Adult & Community Services. Next year it will be open to local high school students.

Students enrolled in the Cisco Certified Network Associate Certificate program will learn to install, operate and configure local area network switches, TCP/IP communications, wide area networks, as well as the building blocks of network systems. At the end of the course, they will take a certification test from CISCO, which will entitle them to work as entry-level network engineers, network support technicians and helpdesk technicians.

Colorful, flexible furniture and three wide screen monitors make up the newly created space.

“Part of this course will get into the routing and searching component of things, but later on we are hoping to start the cybersecurity program,” said Mr. Rahman, standing beside a large screen that demonstrated in real time the many cybersecurity attacks that are happening around the globe, including their country of origin, the types of attacks that are taking place and their targets.

“To learn this, the foundational concepts are very critical, so you really have to have a very strong foundation in routing and searching,” Mr. Rahman added.

Other programs that attracted several visitors included the cosmetology, electrical construction and automotive programs.


Colette Connolly

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