[PIC] Pawling Elementary Student Alexis Caceres Works With A Shoelace Tieing Model Provided By BOCES Construction Trade Students

Some say there is no better feeling than knowing you helped someone else.

Two Dutchess BOCES construction trades students got to experience this first-hand after completing a project to help elementary school students in their own home district.

Juan Castillo and Bryan Lopez, both Pawling High School students, elected to tackle a project to help students in Pawling Elementary School’s PRIDE program (Partnership in Reaching Individuals with Diverse Educational needs).  They built models to help the younger students to learn how to tie their shoes.

It all came about when two teachers who were friends, Stacy Scofield at Pawling Elementary School and Erin Scott at BOCES, were tackling new assignments and were discussing things they needed.

“I personally knew that there were tasks that my students struggled with and although I knew I could go out and purchase one item in particular - a wooden lacing sneaker to aid in learning to tie laces - I thought how cool would it be if Erin’s students could make this for me?,” Scofield said.

Scott, also a special education teacher, was on-board instantly as was Tom Skean, the construction trades teacher.

Skean explained that in their junior year, students often work on projects for clients (typically other BOCES classes) and receive work-based learning credit for such work.

“We got the idea of what they needed and I designed it, but they (Juan and Bryan) came back with something better and that is my favorite thing to see happen,” Skean said.

For both students, it was the first time they had worked on a project for a client.

First, they decided to make a pair of shoes instead of just one, but they didn’t tell Scofield.

As for the design, Lopez said they liked what Skean had come up with, but they wanted to do a new design with different elements.

“We added a sole to it and the Timberland logo to make it realistic - at the time, we used Timberland boots because that is what I had on at the time,” Castillo said. “Throughout the project we encountered problems with the size of the shoe and details.”

But, the two overcame the obstacles and both said they enjoyed the experience.

“It felt good to help the kids who needed it,” Lopez said.

Neither Scofield or Scott knew how long it would take to finish the project.

“My students were elated when the lacing sneakers arrived - not one but two! Erin’s students went so far as to add their little touches to make these their own,” Scofield said.

While awaiting the shoe, Scofield realized she could really use lockers for her students to hang their backpacks in and store their lunchboxes. Again, she contacted Scott, and another project began.

As Scott discussed the project with students, they recognized Scofield’s name.

“Some were ENL (English as a New Language) students while others were from our PRIDE program at the high school. I cannot begin to tell you how much joy this brought me. It was our students helping our students,” Scofield said.

Projects such as this are important to BOCES students because it speaks to everything BOCES is about, Scott said.

Scofield and the district would have spent hundreds of dollars on the shoes and lockers, instead they were able to save that money by having BOCES students create the items. Each project provides BOCES students with real-life experience, hands-on learning and provides collaboration opportunities with others.