February is Career and Technical Education month! To celebrate the hard work and dedication of our Dutchess BOCES Career and Technical Institute (CTI) students, we spoke to students from across a variety of programs throughout the month to learn about their experiences.
Students shared why they chose their program, what they have learned, their favorite part of the program and their plans for the future. While the trades students study at CTI vary greatly in the content students learn, there were many similarities within their profiles.
First, is the undeniable passion the students have for their respective trades.
“I just love it. It's my passion. It's what I was put on the earth to do,” shared Jack Murphy, a junior in culinary arts and restaurant management.
“I really enjoy the professional side of graphic design,” said Noah Browne, a junior in graphic arts & design. “I enjoy figuring out what the client wants and then interpreting it in my own style and my own way to create something that can fit their needs.”

Luz Aquino Ruiz, a senior in health sciences, shared a similar feeling regarding her clinical hours outside of the classroom: “I feel like I've gotten more social being with the elderly. I really love being around them.”

Students feel they have learned a lot from experiences outside of the classroom. In addition to the clinicals that Aquino Ruiz discussed, William Lucas, a senior in welding and fabrication, spoke about his internship with the Dyson Racing Team: “I'm working on baffles inside of an oil tank for a 1975 McLaren. It's something I never would have been able to work on unless I had this opportunity.”

In addition to a passion for the subject matter and opportunities in the local community, many students highlighted the unique community within their CTI classrooms.

“One [of my favorite things] is the community that you build and just the general knowledge everyone shares with each other. Everyone is willing to help each other,” said Joshua Grimm, a junior in trade electricity.

Scarlett Stoner experiences something similar in her automotive technology class. The senior shared, “My favorite part of the program would be learning all the new things while also making all new friends that like cars and know what you’re talking about.”

This feeling of community wouldn’t be possible without the teachers who inspire their students and support them every step of the way.

“This is really like a good learning atmosphere,” shared Grimm. “The teacher, Mr. Hayes, is very good with that. We can make mistakes, and that’s OK. I respect him a lot.”

Karis Slaughter, a senior in TV & film, said, “Mr. Brown is a great teacher. He's literally my favorite teacher, the best teacher I've had in my life.”

Across trades at CTI, another commonality is the desire to make a difference.

“I chose to do the early childhood program because I want to help the kids grow and teach them right and wrong so they will grow up to be nice people in the world,” shared Victoria Ardnt, a junior in early childhood education.  

“My dad was someone that always loved helping the elderly and young people, so I wanted to continue that from him,” expressed Aquino Ruiz. “I love being around people and helping them as much as I can.”

When it comes to life after BOCES, the students have big dreams for their future.

Many plan to continue their education, including Murphy. “I'm going to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA),” he said. “After that, I plan to travel to as many countries as possible - anywhere in the world that has a cuisine I want to learn, and soak up as much knowledge as possible.”

Other students plan to enter the workforce upon completing their program: “After I graduate, I have a guaranteed spot with National Geographic on one of their ships traveling from Alaska to Antarctica and everywhere in between,” said Lucas.

Some have joined or are considering serving in the military. Aquino Ruiz shared, “My teacher, Miss Novak, was a nurse in the Army. That's what I want to do now and be a nurse in the Navy.”

Interested in learning more about these students individually? Read their full Career and Technical Education month profiles here: www.dcboces.org/CTEMonth2024