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Succeeding During Trying Times - A Senior Spotlight
Thursday, April 30, 2020
If you were to meet Cody LaRoe, a senior from Hudson Falls CSD, it would not be obvious that he has gone through some difficulties. His friendly, laid-back, pleasant demeanor makes him very approachable.
Cody is in the Theraputic Support Program (TSP) and also the hospitality and human services program at the Southern Adirondack Education Center (SAEC). Before remote learning started, he was preparing for a SkillsUsa competition in customer service. That contest evaluates students’ proficiency in providing customer service through live, role-playing situations. Contestants demonstrate their ability to perform customer service in both written and oral forms including telephone and computer skills, communications, problem solving, conflict resolution and business etiquette.
“They took me over to cosmetology and they had me pretend that I was working at a barbershop, at the desk. There I had to answer the phone, do some studying on certain types of barbering, and memorize the services that were offered,” says Cody.
What Cody has learned about how to treat customers and customer service helped him to land a part time job at Price Chopper where he can practice his skills. “I felt it prepared me well because as I went into the job at Price Chopper I had more of an understanding of the concept of customer service.”
Although Cody's life was a bit up-ended due to a family member’s Corona virus scare, they were in quarentine, but all is well now, he still managed to stay focused on his school work. At school he has many supports - social worker, teachers, counselors. Througout the remote learning period, though consistent remote support, Cody has kept his grades up and turned all of his assignments in on time. He even did a creative writing piece for extra credit, a poem titled Corona Boredom (see the related files). It is a very honest, authentic, reflection of his current mood. Serious and funny at the same time.
Social Worker Paul Piotrowski says “it speaks to Cody’s day-to-day interactions at our school. That mixture of seriousness, a little humor, genuineness, all these things put together.”
That combination of traits will help Cody to be successful in life, as there's always going to be an obstacle that has to be overcome. Like so many, it's been a frustrating time.
“It's a pretty difficult time for me to not go anywhere or go anywhere as much...I will say that I used to love watching TV a lot. Now that that's all I can really do I'm kind of getting bored with that,” says Cody.
He still feels connected with his teachers, social worker and staff at BOCES. The communication has been good, he says. Assignments in his Contemporary Issues in American History, Economics, GYM, Math classes keep him busy.
Owen Landrey, one of Cody’s teachers, says. “Cody is caught up every time. I mean sometimes I post something at 9 in the morning and it will be done by 10.”
Cody set some personal goals in terms of being healthy and he's really been successful at that. So he has enjoyed gym class, following along with workout videos, yoga, training and keeping a log sheet of different exercises he did throughout the day. One fun assignment was to create a sport.
When asked about his high school years at the Southern Adirondack Education Center, Cody said, “I definitely feel that BOCES has given me more opportunity to learn in a better way that I can understand. I feel that it has definitely got me out of my social bubble. I have been out and socializing. I've been able to make great friends.”
The one-on-one and small-group instruction has had a big impact on him.
Owen Landrey says that one of Cody's best skills is the ability to accept feedback. “Academically or otherwise, he can look at something and we can say you are on the right path, or you need to work on that.”
Paul Piotrowski adds, “Cody is able to take feedback and grow from it. I mean basically we've equipped him with a toolbox that he is really willing to reach into. He can problem-solve on his own. We've seen so much social growth.”
Cody regulary attends the TSP Community Google Meet with 35 staff and students.
“When I think about Cody, I think about other kids, and he takes every supportive opportunity that BOCES has to offer - whether it's through the academic world or through the vocational world or through the social world, the counseling, and he uses it. What caught my eye this time was that those are things that he did when school was in session. He's been able to carry those things through this new world which I think is pretty cool,” says Piotrowski.
Cody has made great progress with time management and taking initiatives, even fitting the interview for this story in before a counselling appointment.
Owen Landrey says, “Cody takes responsibility himself, making appointments, making things happen without skipping a beat, which is fantastic. It's a testament to Cody and also to the folks at BOCES who have been working hard to keep our kids connected.”
Dwight James is the main contact, ‘the connector’ who keeps all of Cody’s worlds in check, parents, academics, outside organizations.
“I think Cody’s abiltity to connect with adults allows our jobs to be easy,” says Piotrowski.
Known by Hospitality and Human Services Instructor, Chef Lendell Eaddy as C-bacon, Cody loves getting in the kitchen and cooking.
Chef Eaddy says, “Cody is an amazing student, over the last 2 years he has accomplished so much. Cody has performed outside his comfort zone on the highest level every day.”
Cody was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. He is weighing his options in this regard. “The fact that he was accepted by the premiere culinary college in the country states his tremendous ability to do anything,” says Chef Eaddy.
Seen in this photo, as a student ambassador at the 2020 Legislative Breakfast, Cody made favorable impressions on guests. As for the future, if he can get through a major pandemic with ease and grace, he’ll be in good shape to do many things.
As for the future, if he can get through a major pandemic with ease and grace, he’ll be in good shape to do many things.
“After graduation I hope to continue to work at Price Chopper. I do also want to get a second job possibly as a waiter or a busser in the Queensbury area. I do want to try in bartending and get into the hospitality industry into the future.”
With his great personality, and skills he’s obtained, he will certainly have no trouble being successful. We wish Cody all the best in the future.