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Herkimer BOCES student projects raise awareness for good causes
May 12, 2015


Guest speaker informs students of sexual assault awareness.
YWCA community educator Melissa Loiacano speaks to Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCS students during an assembly on April 10 for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Herkimer BOCES visual communications media arts student Brandi Urich, of Central Valley Academy, organized the event and watches on during the speech.


Story by Herkimer BOCES visual communications media arts students Mark Loiacono and Jake Schaffer


Throughout the past several months, Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES students in instructor Melinda Maycock’s visual communications media arts program have been working on awareness projects related to important issues.

Students who are focused on broadcasting created videos to support the projects, and every other student selected an awareness topic to promote.

Two of the more recent projects took place during April, which is both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Autism Awareness Month.

Herkimer BOCES visual communications media arts student Brandi Urich, of Central Valley Academy, organized an assembly on April 10 for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. She prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the event, and arranged for YWCA community educator Melissa Loiacano to speak to students.

The assembly educated students with knowledge of the statistical aspects of sexual assault awareness, Urich said.

“I was really surprised with how the event turned out,” she said.

A story about a girl from a small community who was raped made an impact on many of the students, Urich said.

“I think that story really reached out to people,” she said. “They started to realize it can happen to anybody, and it can happen in a small town – you don’t have to be in a big city.”

She did not know much about sexual assault awareness, but because of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and other similar shows, she became inspired to learn more about the topic and work on it for her class. She knew it would be meaningful to her and that it might help others in the future.

Urich sold Rice Krispies Treats during the assembly, at Herkimer BOCES and at Central Valley Academy. She raised almost $50 and is going to add the rest herself, so she can donate a total of $100 to the YWCA. The money will go to a fund that covers medical expenses for victims who don’t want their parents or guardians to know what they went through.

Visual communications media arts students Seth Young and Jade Judson, of Central Valley Academy, chose autism awareness as their topic because Young’s little brother has autism, and they know friends and friends’ sibling in their home school with autism.

They organized two events during Autism Awareness Month: a badminton tournament on April 10 in the gymnasium at Central Valley Academy and a spaghetti dinner on April 13 at Lombardo’s Pizzeria Plus II in Ilion.

“It was interesting to see how many people in the community helped,” Judson said.

The events were a success, they said.

“I think we definitely raised awareness,” Young said.

“So much so that I think everyone is sick of hearing from us,” Judson said.

“At least they’ll remember it,” Young said.

From the two events combined, they were able to raise $1,200 to donate to local families in need through a Herkimer Area Resource Center fund dedicated to helping children further their progress.

They’re happy the money raised can directly help people because it feels more personal than donated to a big organization, they said.

“It feels good helping local families with needy children because it’s difficult for them,” Judson said.

Going through this process increased their confidence in their ability to be able to raise awareness, they said.

“It’s nice to know that we can do this and we can do this again, and that we did help,” Young said.


Students watch as guest speaker discusses sexual assault awareness.
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES students watch on during a sexual assault awareness event organized by visual communications media arts student Brandi Urich, of Central Valley, on April 10 at Herkimer BOCES.


John and Heather Lombardo provided the spaghetti dinner.
Pictured here, John and Heather Lombardo, the owners of Lombardo’s Pizzeria Plus II in Ilion, hosted a spaghetti dinner on April 13 for an event two Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES visual communications media arts students organized to raise autism awareness.

Badminton tournament at Central Valley Academy.
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES visual communications media arts students Seth Young and Jade Judson, of Central Valley Academy, organized a badminton tournament (pictured here) that took place on April 10 at Central Valley Academy to raise autism awareness.
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