Over 450 local high school seniors are graduating with more than just a diploma this year. Hundreds filled the Event's Center at Binghamton University Thursday night for the Broome-Tioga BOCES Career Education Certificate ceremony.
This is our certificate ceremony. We have over 450 students leaving our program tonight and we are going to honor them with scholarships and awards," said Angel Mead, a cosmetology teacher at Broome-Tioga BOCES.
These graduating seniors were enrolled in BOCES' Career Technical Education program. For the last two years, they spent half their school day at their high school and the other half taking occupational courses at BOCES.
“The advantage to our students leaving us tonight there are skilled. They have skill in their trade area and they’re actually very work ready. We encourage them to go on to college as well but they are work ready with hands on skills that they can go out and actually find a job," said Mead.
The certificates essentially give these students another option, offering them a choice to enter the workforce after high school as a skilled professional.
“They have a degree, as well as hands-on skills to do that job," said Mead. “It all depends on the career path that those students are taking and what the best path is for them.”
“If you look at the demographics now, the area and the country is really looking for those skilled workers. They don’t have them anymore," said Mead.
Trenton Perrotta, a graduating Tioga Central High School senior and BOCES student, says the program helped him pursue his passion and jump start his career in the field of heavy equipment.
“It helped me a lot, in one way just getting started and learning how to work on the heavy equipment and diagnose it and kind of got me into the field and it also helped me by giving me a good work ethic and a good attitude," said Perrotta.
Perrotta said he enjoyed "every second" of his time at BOCES.
“Amazing, highly educational. It got me excited to pursue the path, or the career path that I have chosen." — Trenton Perrotta, Tioga Central High School Senior and BOCES student
Perrotta will be graduating high school on Monday and says he will be attending Lincoln Technical Institute in Nashville in August.