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VP-TECH welcomes second class of students
June 8, 2016



Brittany DerCola speaks during VP-TECH Convocation
Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School Principal Brittany DerCola officially announces the second class of VP-TECH students during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



HERKIMER – The Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School officially introduced its second class of students on Thursday, June 2, during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation.

This school year marked the beginning of VP-TECH at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES with 34 ninth-graders in the program. The VP-TECH Convocation welcomed 31 current eighth-graders who will join the current VP-TECH students this fall as ninth-graders.

During the Convocation, Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua thanked the component school districts for supporting VP-TECH and acknowledged that it must have been a difficult decision for the students to decide as eighth-graders to commit to a long-term program.

“The fact that we had over 30 students last year and have over 30 students this year is really something,” Vivacqua said. “Congratulations to the students for making a very brave choice.”

VP-TECH students take their classes for the full school day at Herkimer BOCES, and they will remain in VP-TECH for up to six years. When they complete the program, they will leave with a Regents diploma, an associate degree in quality assurance from Herkimer College, a certification in advanced manufacturing and connections with local businesses.

VP-TECH will prepare the students for a variety of job opportunities, Vivacqua said.

“Students here are going to learn an awful lot by the time they graduate about advanced manufacturing and quality assurance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to work in those fields,” he said.

VP-TECH Principal Brittany DerCola hosted the Convocation, Herkimer BOCES Board of Education President Daniel LaLonde talked to students about overcoming challenges during VP-TECH, Sturges Manufacturing Co. General Manager Bruce Brach talked to students about their opportunities and current VP-TECH student Marshall Smith, of Mount Markham, spoke about what it’s like to be a student at VP-TECH.

Smith said VP-TECH is very different from normal high school and is based more on project-based learning and group work. The program also allows more flexibility – such as if you need to take an hour and a half out of the afternoon to work on algebra because you’re struggling with it, then you can do that, he said.

During the speech, Smith also advised the new students from various school districts to make friends with each other because they’re going to be together for up to six years. He also said not to be afraid to become friends with other Herkimer BOCES students.

Smith said VP-TECH will present the students with many business opportunities through tours, mentorships, internships and more.

“There is a very slim chance you will find another opportunity like this in Herkimer County,” he said.

Brach talked about the changes in manufacturing that have occurred in the more than 20 years since he joined the industry. He also talked about the manufacturing and quality assurance work done at Sturges Manufacturing Co. and showed some of the straps the company makes – ranging from straps for firefighter helmets to straps used for drilling in the ocean floor that can support the weight of nine cars.

“There really has been a significant change in manufacturing, and you guys are getting in at the right time and in the right program,” Brach said.

Brach asked for a round of applause for the parents of the new VP-TECH students for supporting their children going into a program that will make them more prepared for career opportunities.

“The decisions that you make at this young age will affect the life that you have when you’re our age,” Brach said, to the students, “and you’re off to a great start.”

At the end of ceremony, the new students were called on stage. Each student received a certificate of acceptance, a keychain made by current VP-TECH students using a 3-D printer, a Herkimer College registration packet and information about the summer bridge program.

DerCola said the students in the first VP-TECH class have come a long way and made tremendous progress, so she is looking forward to them having the opportunity to help mentor the second class of students.

“We’re excited about our new group of ninth-grade students,” DerCola said. “These students are about to embark on a wonderful journey.”

To complete the ceremony, DerCola officially announced the second class of VP-TECH students, as parents took pictures, and then students, families and VP-TECH administrators and staff had a chance to interact.

The students will next come together for the summer bridge program from July 25 to July 29 at Herkimer BOCES. During the summer session, students will participate in team-building activities, take a tour of Herkimer College and get to know each other better before the start of the school year.

The following is a complete list of the new students joining VP-TECH:
  • Garrett Amendolare, of Central Valley
  • Isaiah Brothers, of Little Falls
  • Charles Buckley, of Central Valley
  • Jacob Cargen, of Dolgeville
  • Dylan Coleman, of Poland
  • Stone Davis, of Dolgeville
  • Tyler DeLuca, of Central Valley
  • Dillon Demorest, of Owen D. Young
  • Toby DesJardins, of West Canada Valley
  • Alex Dorantes, of Herkimer
  • Joseph Fort-Diecidue, of Central Valley
  • Tyler Hight, of Central Valley
  • Preston Ingraham, of Central Valley
  • Zackery Janis, of Frankfort-Schuyler
  • Michael Johannssen, of Central Valley
  • Michael Kaczor, of Central Valley
  • Zackery Kleist, of Dolgeville
  • Jared Lamanna, of Central Valley
  • Christopher Marriott, of Mount Markham
  • Nicholas Mercado, of Dolgeville
  • Olivia Pickett, of Little Falls
  • Kaleb Pohleven, of West Canada Valley
  • Jesse Schofield, of Little Falls
  • Sean Spellman, of West Canada Valley
  • Michael Sportello, of Central Valley
  • Todd Squires, of Central Valley
  • Olivia Talarico, of Frankfort-Schuyler
  • Ryan Talarico, of Central Valley
  • Joseph Watson, of Dolgeville
  • Makenzie Williams, of Frankfort-Schuyler
  • Joshua Wood, of Poland


VP-TECH student Marshall Smith
Current Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School student Marshall Smith, of Mount Markham, speaks to the incoming class of VP-TECH students during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Sturges Manufacturing Co. General Manager Bruce Brach
Sturges Manufacturing Co. General Manager Bruce Brach talks to the incoming class of Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School students about manufacturing, quality assurance and the opportunities presented by VP-TECH during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



VP-TECH Convocation
Local eighth-graders who will be joining the Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School this fall as ninth-graders listen on with their families as Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Board of Education President Daniel LaLonde speaks during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Mark Vivacqua
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua thanks component school districts and congratulations the incoming class of Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School students during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Brittany DerCola speaks during Convocation
Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School Principal Brittany DerCola speaks to students in the second class of VP-TECH students and their families during the second annual VP-TECH Convocation on Thursday, June 2, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.




 
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