YORKTOWN, N.Y. - More than 400 students from 18 local school districts graduated last week from Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services' Tech Center in Yorktown.
"Although we are here celebrating your accomplishments, we are really celebrating the beginning of your next phase of life," Superintendent James Langlois told a throng of students, families, friends and staff.
Overall, 425 students completed 42 programs of study, including advertising art and design, animation and motion graphics, baking and pastry arts, automotive repair, law enforcement, cosmetology and culinary arts. Students also graduated from the competitive New Visions Honors programs in engineering, education, environmental science and health.
Kate Matthews, a Hendrick Hudson High School senior studying auto body, said BOCES helped her turn an interest into a career.
"I know that I'm in a male-dominated field, but here I felt no judgment and only encouragement," said Matthews, one of three student speakers. "I can envision myself doing this for the rest of my life."
Nicole Loscri from John Jay High School was the Tech Center valedictorian, while Stephanie Tock from Mahopac was the salutatorian.
"Smile a lot. Take chances. Be true to yourself," Tock said. "And remember, this is your time to shine."