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89 complete trade programs at BOCES

Lexi Sabin hugs FEH BOCES New Vision Education instructor Kara Munn after earning her certificate of completion in the program on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Eighty-nine students completed programs at the Frankin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES Adirondack Educational Center on Monday. The students celebrated completing their courses, which spanned a variety of trade programs, after spending one to two years gaining maturity and confidence alongside college credits, real-world experience and scholarships.

Adirondack Educational Center Principal Stephanie Murphy said these were all students who “chose to go the extra mile in their senior year.” For half of their day, they would step away from their home district and go study a specific field hands-on with hopes to secure experience, skills and passion for the careers they are shooting for.

Students completed programs in automotive technology, building trades, cosmetology, culinary arts, natural resource sciences, education and heath fields.

Murphy said their learning looked far different than their peers’. Some observed surgeons performing special procedures at Adirondack Medical Center. Others got to teach children at Petrova Elementary School alongside the teachers who taught them just a few years ago, when they were younger.

FEH BOCES Superintendent Dale Breault said these students had completed a big accomplishment, but there’s still plenty of work ahead of them. He said their chosen paths are “essential” to the functioning of society, and in “high demand.”

Nelle Aaron grins and holds up her certificate of completion in the New Vision Education program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

He quoted former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr’s character in the musical “Hamilton,” who sings the line “I am the one thing in life I can control.”

Breault told the students to take control of their lives amid a chaotic world.

Student stories

Baylor Karger prepares to receive his cords after earning his certificate of completion in the New Vision Health program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

Saranac Laker Carter Nicastro decided to join the New Vision Education program last summer. He wasn’t sure what to do in his senior year, when students have more freedom to experiment with their education and hone in on a specific field.

He had friends who were in the program in its first year, last year, and after working as a lifeguard over the summer, he realized he liked working with kids. But he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to be a teacher. He wanted to be sure before he started spending money on a college degree.

“I figured that this was a good way that I could really decide and to be put in a situation where I am a teacher,” Nicastro said.

He discovered that he loved it, but it came with a lot of nervous feelings.

“It was scary at first. … Usually adults are put in that situation. I was a 17-year-old kid put in the classroom and told to teach a bunch of children,” Nicastro said. “It was a really big learning experience and I think I matured over the last few months. I’m a totally different person.”

Michaela Gillis grins and holds up her certificate of completion in the New Vision Health program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

Nicastro attended Petrova Elementary when he was younger, and got to shadow his former physical edudcation teachers and get a look “behind the scenes.”

He said he kept remembering his experience on the other side, as a student.

“It’s funny. You start to understand why you acted the way you did as a kid,” he said.

Nicastro plans to stay local and attend North County Community College in the fall, which has a program that allows education students to substitute teach in the Saranac Lake Central School District to make some money while in college.

He might even work with some of the kids he helped teach this year.

Sabine Denkenberger laughs with friends after earning her certificate of completion in the New Vision Health program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

J. Niederbuhl, of Bloomingdale, said she joined the New Vision Education program because teaching has been a goal of hers since she was young. She had Corinne Parsons as a teacher for three years in a row at Bloomingdale Elementary.

“Just seeing how dedicated she was towards us, really inspired me,” Niederbuhl said. “She felt like family. And that just made me want to go on so I could be that for someone some day.”

Niederbuhl described the excitement of getting to teach alongside Parsons one day, as Parsons is now a teacher assistant at Petrova Elementary.

Niederbuhl said after this program, she is better at public speaking and finds herself taking more initiative and more responsibility. When the main teacher stepped out for a minute, she would be left in charge of the classroom and had to learn on the fly how to present herself, how to be stern without being mean and how to let students know that she cares, and that’s why she was saying they can’t do certain things.

“You end up getting really attached to the kids. Seeing them succeed becomes this huge feeling that’s very personal,” she said.

Lia Perry grins as she prepares to receive her cords after earning her certificate of completion in the New Vision Education program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

Niederbuhl plans to take a gap year to save up money while working at Nori’s Village Market before pursuing a Master’s degree in English education.

Payton Berry of Saranac Lake knows she wants to work in the medical field. When she had to write a research paper for the New Vision Health program, she picked one about neurodevelopmental disorders. She said she loves that complicated stuff, and is excited to pursue it more.

“It was hard to pick just five (topics). There’s so many things you could talk about,” Berry said.

She had a lot of friends who did the New Vision Health program before.

“The way they talked about it, it seemed like a really good opportunity,” she said.

Getting to see all the different departments of Adirondack Medical Center and all the different facets of medicine was inspiring, she said.

“It was an incredible experience. I wish that everybody got to do what we had the chance to do,” Berry said.

Berry plans to attend Michigan State University in the fall to study neuroscience. She wants to be a surgeon one day and has a special fascination with how the brain works.

The Saranac Lake Health Association gave a scholarship for all five health New Vision Health students.

See the full program for the June 17 Adirondack Educational Center completion ceremonies here.

(More photographs will be published in a future edition.)

Sage Kite-Whidden smiles as he grabs his certificate of completion in the New Vision Education program from the FEH BOCES on Monday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Marbone)

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