School counselors from Dutchess BOCES’ 13 component districts visited the Career & Technical Institute (CTI) Nov. 1 to learn about or reacquaint themselves with the many programs and services CTI offers, and see two of them in action.
The meeting, held in the large conference center, was enhanced by a tasty breakfast prepared by culinary students and positive anecdotes about the CTI experience from students.
Ashley Keck, a senior in the Plant & Animal Science program, was skeptical about tackling floral design at first, but the beautiful arrangements she made in class led to a job offer from a wedding florist.
“I’ve been working with her for the last five months, expanding my knowledge and love for floral design,” Keck said. “This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without my experience at BOCES.”
Since coming to CTI, Keck learned to be professional at work placements and has changed how she presents herself.
“We as students are being treated like adults, which might sound scary, but it’s the push we all need,” Keck said. “You’re given such a big responsibility when you step foot into BOCES every day.”
CTI Principal Nick Millas thanked counselors for supporting and advocating for students, adding that he continues to find ways to push students further. 
“We hope that you come away with a lot of great information that’s going to help you and help your students be informed decision makers,” Millas said. “Thank you for sharing your students with us.”
When counselors visited Fashion Design & Merchandising instructor Sebastian Yeung’s classroom, he shared that interested students should come with passion, an inquisitive mind and the willingness to take on all tasks from designing an outfit to marketing it. 
“It’s really like a one man band – you learn the basics,” Yeung said. “When they make something for themselves, it’s very meaningful.” 
Pine Plains Guidance Ryan Carney enjoys this annual meeting to learn about new programs BOCES has to offer. He estimates that about 30 percent of Pine Plains’ juniors and seniors attend CTI programs where they thrive.
“We have a lot of kids who wouldn’t have graduated high school without CTI,” Carney said. “We all sometimes can identify the kids that are going to be successful here.”
For Hyde Park School Counselor Elise Morelli, seeing the programs in-person helps her better explain all of the benefits and opportunities to students, who largely graduate from CTI with good experiences.
“It’s also great to get to know the different teachers, because you’re going to be emailing them later,” Morelli said. “The majority of the kids find their passion and ability to feel proud of something they do every day.”  

Student filmmakers make an impression

A unique aspect of this year’s counselor’s meeting involved seniors from the TV & Film Production program filming it and the subsequent tours of CTI’s HVAC and Fashion Design programs with the footage being used for future marketing campaigns.

CTI Job Placement Specialist Sharon Myers wanted to give the students a chance to practice film techniques and see how well they could work on a project with short notice. They accepted the challenge and completed it with ease and efficiency.

“I thought it was amazing how they pulled together and worked together,” Myers said. “They looked professional.”

Myers is looking forward to see how they edit the footage together.

“It’s a confidence builder,” Myers said. “There’s so much in this school that gives students opportunities they don’t know exist.”

The students were given specific instructions from Myers about what to highlight and discussed with CTI counselors Kristin Litwin and Deanna Pillius what they needed from them for filming.

Two cameras were set up to film, something Karis Slaughter never did before on a wide-scale, but was pleased with the results.

“It was a little new to us,” Slaughter said. “I think we did really good for our first multi-camera setup.”

Being asked to film the meeting was an honor for Slaughter, who enjoys documenting the various CTI programs.

“Other than our senior projects, most of the stuff we’re doing is for the school,” Slaughter said. “It’s always a rewarding thing.”

Despite feeling anxious at first, Jacob Smith enjoyed putting what he learned in class to practice.

“It’s really fun,” Smith said. “Once the cameras started rolling, it really went smoothly.”

Smith chose the program because he has always wanted to create films that stick with viewers after they saw it.

“The reason why I’ve enjoyed working on this promotional stuff is because the whole purpose of it is to make people think about it,” Smith said.