SARATOGA SPRINGS —The Early College Career Academy (ECCA), a partnership program between the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES and SUNY Adirondack, held its Completion Ceremonies at the SUNY Adirondack Queensbury campus on June 10 and 11. Seventy-one students from 26 school districts were recognized in the company of family members, WSWHE BOCES and SUNY Adirondack staff and faculty, BOCES Board of Education members and honored award presenters. CDC guidelines were followed.
This was the seventh class to complete this unique program that provides students with focused studies in the fields of Advanced Manufacturing, IT Computer Networking, Cyber Security, New Media, or Business Entrepreneurship. Students in the programs are exposed to the latest technologies used in these industries, earn industry-recognized certifications, and participate in work-based learning activities that include job shadowing, being mentored by an industry expert, and real-world industry challenge projects. In addition to acquiring job skills and industry knowledge, students also earn college credits toward an Associate Degree in Applied Science, while still in high school.
Seven students that graduated were Year-5 PTECH graduates, and one student was a Year-6 PTECH graduate, meaning they started the program in middle school and continued all through high school.
One student in the ECCA Class of 2021 will be joining the US Navy, another plans to pursue the US Air Force. Several students plan to continue their education at SUNY Adirondack. Others will enter the workforce or technical training, and the remainder of the class will continue their studies at Monmouth University, Siena, Grand Canyon University, SUNY Geneseo, RIT, SUNY Canton, Western New England University, University at Albany, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Dr. Kristine Duffy, President of SUNY Adirondack, welcomed the students to the ceremony. Michael Prutsman, Assistant Dean for Extended Programs at SUNY Adirondack, emceed and Kimberly Wegner, Lead Coordinator for Innovative Programs at WSWHE BOCES, presented many of the awards. Instructors gave the completion certificates out for each of their classes.
Five student speakers were chosen by their classmates – Matthew Wildermuth (Queensbury, Advanced Manufacturing), William Persons (Bolton, Information Technology Networking), Aeryn Brewer (Corinth, Business & Entrepreneurship), Lucia Cucinella (Saratoga Springs, New Media in Saratoga), and Allison Lashway (Hudson Falls, New Media in Queensbury). All spoke about their experiences, and life-long knowledge and friends they gained from the program. A Citizen Award and an Outstanding Student Ambassador Award were presented to a student from each class.
Four Maureen VanBuren Memorial Scholarships were also awarded to Lucia Cucinella (Saratoga Springs), Justin Garfolo (Saratoga Springs), Matthew Randles (Argyle), and Grace Valla (South Glens Falls). Each received a $1,000 scholarship for the “passion they have demonstrated to their field of study and their plan to further their education through college or technical school.” The scholarship is named after the late Maureen VanBuren, who was the Special Projects Administrator for ECCA.