Dutchess BOCES’ Career and Technical Institute once again offered its “Middle School Summer CTI Experience” starting July 24 and ending July 28 for 6th to 8th grade students interested in learning about a trade.

Basic courses were offered in carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts and trade electricity with 18 students in each class running. Additionally, an information session on CTI’s courses was held for parents on July 24. in the large conference center. The program proved to be popular, as a waiting list was created.
“It will be an opportunity for them to have some hands on learning,” Principal Nick Millas said of the younger students. “It’s also a good opportunity for parents to learn about career and technical education.”
The 72 enrolled students, from across Dutchess County school districts, attended free of charge thanks to additional funds that came from CTI’s increased enrollment last school year.
Millas noted the importance of making the summer program accessible to all students regardless of income, so they can engage in learning opportunities to avoid the dreaded summer slide.
“I don’t want anything in our program to be cost prohibitive,” Millas said. “We try to find every possible way to make our programs accessible.” 
Some students who previously attended the summer program end up returning to take courses in their junior year, which Millas considers well worth the cost to run it.
“When you reinvest in your program, you get something back in return,” Millas said. “It’s a good return on investment.”
In Culinary, Chef Instructor Amanda Scoca assisted students with sautéing onions, grating cheese and cutting up bread to make an all-time classic – French onion soup. Each day, the class cooked a native dish of various countries. 
McKenzie Avina, a soon to be 7th grader from the Millbrook Central School District, has been cooking since she was 4 years old, so she felt right at home in Scoca’s class.
“It’s really informative and I really enjoy it,” Avina said. “My family loves cooking; my grandpa had a restaurant, my dad worked at a restaurant. I just love it.”
Sean Faccilonga, who will be entering 8th grade in the Wappingers Central School District, enjoyed the hands on work in Carpentry Instructor Thomas Skean’s class where he and his fellow classmates built doghouses. He has a fascination with building after learning that his father was a repairman in the Army.
“We’re having work done on our house and it’s cool to watch,” Faccilonga said. “I like this kind of stuff.”