First BOCES Career and Tech summer camp a hit among students

They spent five days exploring the working world and learning new skills and for 14 middle school students, “it was a blast.”

A group of students in a kitchen with a chef instructor.
Schalmont’s Anthony DiMatteo whips up a dish with CTE’s Chef Mark Brucker.

Schalmont students joined their peers from Niskayuna at the inaugural Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School Summer Camp from July 8-12. During the camp, they learned about various careers and how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are integral parts of those careers. Career exploration delved into opportunities in nursing, culinary, carpentry, automotive and internet application – five of the approximately two dozen careers Capital Region BOCES prepares students for.

“There are some things here this week that I am really interested in like computers and carpentry and all of the hands-on activities,” said Brayden Carroll of Schalmont.

Just like their older peers who attend Career and Technical School during the school year, the middle school students spent a lot of time learning while doing and working with their hands.

For example, during the internet applications portion of camp, students designed and made imprints for bags and socks; during the culinary portion of the camp, students made pasta and sauce from scratch and during the carpentry exploration, students made wooden heart-shaped frames.

 ‘This is fun. I didn’t want to spend my summer just sitting home on my phone and social media. I wanted to learn new things,” added fellow Niskayuna student Anya Afridi.

For teachers and organizers, the camp served as a valuable means of reaching out to a younger population and letting them know not only what jobs exist out there, but sharing some valuable skills.

“It may not be something they do for a career, but cooking is a life skill – an important one. No matter what program they are in, they are learning a life skill and gaining some valuable knowledge while also having fun,” said chef and teacher Mark Brucker.

“This was a great opportunity for these students to undertake career exploration and to see what really exists out there and how they can pursue those paths,” added Denise Fernandez Pallozzi, assistant director for curriculum and instruction at Capital Region BOCES.