74 Students Complete Early College Career Academy

This was the eighth class to complete this unique program that provides students with focused studies in the fields of Advanced Manufacturing, Business and Entrepreneurship, Information Technology / Computer Networking and New Media. Students in the programs are exposed to the latest technologies used in these industries, earn industry-recognized certifications, and participate in work-based learning activities that include job shadowing, being mentored by an industry expert and real-world industry challenge projects. In addition to acquiring job skills and industry knowledge, students also earn college credits toward an Associate Degree in Applied Science, while still in high school. 


Nineteen students from the ECCA group were part of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) program. The PTECH students start the program in middle school and continue all through high school. Of those students, twelve year-5/6 PTECH students graduated from SUNY Adirondack and received their A.A.S. as well. 


One student in the ECCA Class of 2022 will be joining the United States Naval Academy, another plans to pursue a career as a Firefighter and EMT. Several students plan to continue their education at SUNY Adirondack. Others will enter the workforce or technical training, and the remainder will continue their studies at Bentley University, Castleton University, Champlain College, Clarkson University, Fairfield University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Howard University, Miami University in Oxford, R.I.T., Siena College, St. Michaels University, SUNY Canton, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Potsdam, Syracuse University, and the University at Albany. 


Dr. Kristine Duffy, President of SUNY Adirondack, welcomed the students to the ceremony. Michael Prutsman, Dean for Extended Programs at SUNY Adirondack emceed and Michelle Maddalla, Principal for Innovative Programs at WSWHE BOCES presented many of the awards. Program Instructors and Professors handed out the completion certificates to each of their students. 


Industry Speaker, Director of Warren County Employment and Training Administration, Liza Ochsendorf talked about all the opportunities the students have ahead of them and encouraged them to look at the many options available right outside their door. 


“I know that many of you have a desire to travel and leave this area and see what else is out there. We have so many exploratory things to do here [locally] and job opportunities as well. We need you more than ever. We’re really trying to help young people feel like you belong here, because we need you to take over the business, technology, healthcare and manufacturing jobs in our community. You got a head start in training through your PTECH and ECCA programs! That sets you apart from other candidates applying for these local jobs.” stated Ochsendorf.


Four student speakers were chosen by their classmates. Claire Pelletier-Hoblock, (Schuylerville) Advanced Manufacturing; Aidan Murphy, (Glens Falls) Business and Entrepreneurship; Austin Clements, (Queensbury) IT Computer Networking; Carlos Mosca, (Corinth) New Media. From their speech, the audience understood why they were chosen. They spoke about the knowledge, friendships and persistence they gained from the program and that no matter the ups and downs of balancing home school work, CTE work and college classes, choosing the ECCA program was the best decision they made in life so far. 


Additional awards for Citizenship, Leadership, Student Choice and Outstanding Student Ambassadors were presented to students. 


James Dexter, District Superintendent of Schools, WSWHE BOCES spoke to the classes and stated, “thinking about your future can be a daunting task. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Work hard, do the right thing, develop achievable, but ambitious goals. Treat people the right way, love your family and believe in yourself.” Dexter continued by saying, “you have completed an innovative and rigorous program filled with industry credentials and work based learning opportunities. You have technical skills beyond what you could have dreamed of, opportunities like never before, the ability to go directly to college or the option to take a skilled position in the workforce. You completed the program and we are glad that you made the decision to flourish here.” 


Four Maureen VanBuren Memorial Scholarships were also awarded. The scholarship is named after the late Maureen VanBuren, who was the Special Projects administrator for ECCA. Each year, the VanBuren family travels to the completion ceremony to deliver the scholarships. Awardees were, Camden Feldhaus, (Saratoga Springs) Advanced Manufacturing; Kayla Livingston, (Hartford) Business and Entrepreneurship; Austin Clements, (Queensbury) Information Technology; and Rowan Davidson, (Glens Falls) New Media. Each received a $1,000 scholarship for the “passion they have demonstrated to their field of study and their plan to further their education through college or technical school.” 


Caption for photo attachment: Maureen VanBuren Memorial Scholarship Winners with the VanBuren Family - L to Right: Camden Feldhaus, Rowan Davidson, Ronald VanBuren, Bernice Osherowitz, Kayla Livingston, Austin Clements.