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The SWBOCES Center for Career Services held its annual Open House, Media Show and Transition/College Fair March 22 highlighting the many career and technical programs it provides area high school juniors and seniors.
Students and teachers at the Valhalla campus prepare for the bi-yearly event several weeks in advance, finishing off special projects and putting them up for display in their classrooms and in the hallways of the various campus buildings.
Visitors had the opportunity to sample the delicious meal prepared by students in the Culinary Arts Program. The menu consisted of several main dishes, including Chicken Piccata, sausage and peppers, as well as meatballs and pasta. Desserts were also available and included a range of cookies and Tiramisu cupcakes.
Several agencies were on hand to walk parents of special needs students through the transition options available for their children. Representatives from The Arc Westchester; Access-VR, part of the University of the State of New York system, and the Center for Career Freedom in White Plains were just some of the participants.
Admissions counselors from the Culinary Tech Center, Berkley College in White Plains and the BOCES Adult Education Services were also there to talk to students looking to further their education.
But it was clear that many of the parents who turned out to the Center were there to learn more about the opportunities their children are getting as they gain valuable insight into a number of different careers.
Prospective parents from White Plains, Irvington, Ardsley and Pleasantville also visited the campus, and in some cases, brought their children along to view the Center’s offerings.
Ken and Linda Carrella, the parents of Matt, a student in the Fashion Design & Merchandising Program, said the program has been invaluable for their son.
“It has been a great experience for Matt,” said Ken Carrella. “It’s been amazing to watch him transform. This program has changed him in all aspects of his life.”
Instructor Carmen Galiano sat with the three of them as Matt, a senior at New Rochelle High School, looked at the various patterns he might choose for the program’s upcoming fashion show, an annual extravaganza that this year will focus on fashion trends past and present, said Ms. Galiano.
Further up the hallway in Building B, instructor Christine Ireland, who teaches the Interior Design/Architecture Program, was excited to show off her students’ creations, including a number of hair salon scale models based on information they’ve collected from students in the Cosmetology Program. Students in both programs are currently collaborating on a senior exit project.
Parents filed into Ray Sulla’s classroom eager to learn about the experiences that students are getting in the Security, Law and Policing Program. Mr. Sulla, a former NYPD detective, covers a myriad of topics in this two-year program that prepares students to become first responders and law enforcement officers.
Some of the opportunities available to them outside of the classroom include trips to the County Jail in Valhalla, the courthouse in White Plains and the Career Fire Academy, a firefighter training program that is a collaboration of the Westchester County Dept. of Emergency Services, the NYS Office of Fire Prevention and Control, and the Westchester County Career Chiefs.
Center Director Dahlia Jackson was very pleased with the positive turnout.
“I was just as excited as the parents were as I buzzed around the campus that night,” said Ms. Jackson. “I met so many new parents that were excited about the prospect of their children attending our programs.”