Guidance Counselors from ESBOCES component school districts attended an annual District Contact Meeting at the ESBOCES Suffolk Aviation Academy. Some got to fly, others learned first-hand from students about cutting-edge ESBOCES programs.
Brandon Medina, graduate of the West Islip UFSD and student in the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Suffolk Aviation Academy (SAA) in Shirley, presented A Day in the Life of a BOCES Student to local school district guidance counselors at the tri-annual District Contact Meeting held at SAA.“I came into the ESBOCES program in my senior year of high school,” said Brandon. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated. My sister suggested that I might want to consider becoming a pilot since I like to travel so much. I went down to my guidance counselor and she advocated the aviation program at BOCES.” With just a few weeks into the program, Brandon knew this was his destiny. Unfortunately, since he came into the program late, he had to make up for lost time. “I studied night and day to make up the classroom work and flying requirements.” It paid off for Brandon because he bumped up to a 2nd year student in January of his senior year. “My goal is to work for Fed Ex or UPS. People don’t realize they have an airline division and it’s not easy to get into it. You need to have recommendations, put in lots of hours training, and then it’s still difficult. I’m really focused and determined, just like I was in the ESBOCES program.” Brandon is presently a freshman at Suffolk County Community College.
Brandon wanted the guidance counselor audience to fully experience what it’s like during take-off, cruising, and landing of a plane so he had his flight videotaped from the cockpit. He hoped that everyone would find the experience as exhilarating as he does. He said, “I really enjoy landing the plane. I always try to get that perfect landing each and every time.”
Joseph Bower, a student from the Islip UFSD, is studying to be an Airframe Mechanic at the Suffolk Aviation Academy. He said, “No planes fly without one of the mechanics giving it the once over. Our job is to inspect the planes before each and every flight. We check everything from the skin of the plane to the rutter.” Mr. Joe Delgado, Principal of SAA said, “Our safety record is excellent. We have the best students here in our program and I must commend the guidance counselors for sending us such high caliber high school students.”The purpose of the District Contact Meetings is to invite local guidance counselors from the Eastern Suffolk BOCES component school districts to update them on new application requirements, exams, programs, and dates for competitions and fairs that will occur in the coming new school year. Each year two or three of the 44 programs offered at Eastern Suffolk BOCES are highlighted. In addition to aviation, Mr. Fran Nilsen, lead teacher and instructor of the carpentry program at the Brookhaven Technical Center in Bellport, provided an overview of the construction cluster, which encompasses trade electricity, plumbing, and HVAC. He spoke in detail about the two foundations ESBOCES students currently have the opportunity to work on. He said, “We are the only program in the State that has the use of two foundations.” Mr. Nilsen emphasized how his program has strived to go green. “We have become very conscious of our materials and cut back on our waste. We have incorporated ways to be energy efficient. We are very conscientious about that.”
As evidence of this, the construction cluster partners with Greyhawk Construction, Mr. Eric Schatz, representative of Greyhawk, spoke briefly about green construction and how students in the ESBOCES programs “are ahead of the curve in using energy efficient products because they are familiar with them.”
Ms. Christine Conry, ESBOCES guidance counselor also commended the students in Mr. Matt Kozak and Mr. Chris Bergquist’s culinary arts program from the Brookhaven Technical Center for the delicious lunch they provided. Students Taylor, East Islip UFSD; George, Comsewogue UFSD; Matthew Comsewogue UFSD; Adbell, Bay Shore UFSD; Emanuel, Bay Shore UFSD; Capri, Mt. Sinai; and William, Shoreham-Wading River CSD prepared and served delectable chutney chicken salad and corn chowder soup.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Nilsen gave away a prized bookshelf made by students in his class and the lucky winner was Dan Harrington, guidance counselor from the Bayport – Blue Point UFSD. In addition, two counselors were chosen by the luck of the draw to take a plane ride with an instructor from Mid-Island flight school. For more information about the Career and Technical Education programs at Eastern Suffolk BOCES please visit www.esboces.org/progserv.cfm or call 631-289-2200.