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SkillsUSA bolsters students skills, character at Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School

Written By Editor on 11/25/20 | 11/25/20

ALBANY/SCHOHARIE/ROTTERDAM – Ask graduates of the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School what their favorite memory is and many you will give you the same answer – their time in SkillsUSA. 

Whether it be the comradery of competing in regional, state or national competitions or the skills they learn, students who take part in the SkillsUSA program say it was one of the best decisions in their young lives.

“My time in SkillsUSA gave me priceless leadership, professionalism, and communication skills. SkillsUSA made me the leader I am today,” said Class of 2020 Diesel Tech graduate Aidan Enders of Duanesburg.

Saratoga Chef and Food Network TV series Chopped Champion Michelle Hunter also credits SkillsUSA with sharpening her skills while she was a student at Capital Region BOCES.

“I did a lot of competitions in BOCES for SkillsUSA and I did a few after that and the all taught me to prepare and over plan to make sure the timing was right,” said Hunter, a 2007 BOCES graduate.

SkillsUSA is a career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school and students. The organization promotes personal and professional growth and offers students the opportunity to compete at the local, regional, state and national levels. Locally, a competition drawing hundreds of students from across the region and beyond takes place each March in Schenectady with the winners competing against peers in Syracuse in April. Winners of the state competitions advance to nationals in Kentucky each June.

Enders, who served as New York State president of the national organization, said he learned numerous professional skills from workshops and training offered in the program, as well as through the interactions and mentoring he received.

Meet people, make friendships, network

But it’s not just the skills taught through mentoring and workshops, it’s the passion engrained in students and the ability to meet and work with other like-minded people their own age.

“It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and see how you are compared to others,” said Class of 2020 culinary graduate Taylor Lang from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk.

“Competing was a great experience. You can learn a lot by watching others and meeting new people,” added fellow 2020 graduate Chelsey Manor of Cohoes.

Building skills

New SkillsUSA officers were recently installed at the Albany and Schoharie campus chapters. Many of them said they are looking forward to the entire experience the organizations affords its members. 

“I am looking forward to expanding my leadership abilities and learning new skills, as well as just meeting new people,” said Albany Campus afternoon session Co-President Melody Francis.

“I look forward to expanding my leadership skills and promoting the program and BOCES,” said Schoharie Campus President Hunter Bouck from Schoharie Central School District.

While building skills and experience is one aspect of SkillsUSA, so is giving back to the community. Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School SkillsUSA students regularly take part in community service offerings, such as collecting toys and food for local organizations around the holidays to volunteering their time Concerned for the Hungry, Inc. and other charitable groups.

“It’s nice to be able to help people who are working and just can’t make it all the way to the end of the month without a little help,” said Emily Simon, a senior in the criminal justice program from Schalmont.Any student attending the career and technical school is eligible to join the SkillsUSA organziation. For more information, go to

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