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New Vision Alumni Driving Forces in Local Politics

The Oswego County BOCES New Vision Law and Government class prepares students for diverse careers in law, government and public safety. As part of this immersion-based program, students experience all aspects of their chosen career pathway and participate in diverse rotations throughout Oswego County.

Michael Backus, center, returned to his alma mater following his swearing in as the youngest county clerk in New York State. He is pictured with Oswego County BOCES District Superintendent Christopher Todd, left, and Career and Technical Education Director Ronald Camp.
Michael Backus, center, returned to his alma mater following his swearing in as the youngest county clerk in New York State. He is pictured with Oswego County BOCES District Superintendent Christopher Todd, left, and Career and Technical Education Director Ronald Camp.

Two former New Vision Law and Government students are at the forefront of politics in Oswego County.

Michael Backus, a 2002 graduate of Mexico Academy and Central School District and a student in the Law and Government class during his senior year, was recently sworn in and serves as the youngest county clerk in New York State.

A county clerk’s office acts as a general information center, overseeing public services related to motor vehicles, records management, historical archives, and more.

The Oswego County Clerk’s position is not Backus’ first venture into the political arena.

After college, at 22, Backus became the youngest field representative for the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as part of Congressman John McHugh’s staff. When asked how the Oswego County BOCES program prepared him for a career in government, Backus said, “The New Vision Law and Government program provided me with exposure to a wide variety of internships and opportunities in government in Oswego County. This program and others at Oswego County BOCES give students the tools and confidence to know they can be successful at the college level and beyond.”

Another notable New Vision Law and Government graduate also made local political history.

Oswego County BOCES New Vision Law and Government instructor Dianna Nesbitt congratulates former student Terry Wilbur following his first Oswego County Legislature meeting on January 6, 2010. Wilbur represents the 21st District seat and still serves today as the youngest person elected to the Legislature in Oswego County.
Oswego County BOCES New Vision Law and Government instructor Dianna Nesbitt congratulates former student Terry Wilbur following his first Oswego County Legislature meeting on January 6, 2010. Wilbur represents the 21st District seat and still serves today as the youngest person elected to the Legislature in Oswego County.

In 2010, at just 21 years of age, Terry Wilbur became the youngest legislator ever elected in Oswego County. This gave Wilbur the opportunity to serve his local community and return to his favorite New Vision rotation site – the Oswego County Legislature.

When Dianna Nesbitt, the instructor of the New Vision Law and Government class first met the Hannibal High School senior in 2005, she knew immediately that this young man would go places. Nesbitt remembers Wilbur as a young man who was always mature and articulate for his age. She was not shocked to learn that he began his political career right after high school, at age 19, when he was elected to the Hannibal Village Board.

“As educators we are tasked with preparing youth for success in the 21st Century, creating curriculum that combines core academic and technical skills with employability skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, time management and responsibility,” said Oswego County BOCES District Superintendent Christopher Todd. “Michael Backus and Terry Wilbur are just two examples of how rigorous, immersion-based educational programs create a solid foundation for the demands of college and the working world.”

For those interested in learning more about the New Vision Law and Government program or other New Visions options, Oswego County BOCES will be hosting a New Vision Information Night on February 6, beginning at 7 p.m.

Oswego County Juniors and their parents are invited to attend and learn more about all of the New Vision programs including New Vision Allied Health, New Vision Law and Government, and the newly expanded New Vision Specialized Careers programs.

The New Vision Specialized Careers program has been developed to provide an immersion-based program for students interested in exploring a wider range of career options including: engineering, education, business and finance, journalism, television production, veterinary medicine internships, and more.

Each student in the Specialized Careers program will have an individualized training plan that outlines program objectives, career-specific outcomes and skills necessary for further education and employment.

The New Vision programs all allow students to earn 12 college credits through SUNY Oswego, and the programs’ locations on the SUNY Oswego campus provides students with a unique glimpse into college life. A New Vision program experience sets our students apart from the crowd on college applications. New Vision programs are highly respected and are a proven asset on your college application. For more information contact the Oswego County BOCES Career and Technical Education department at 963-4433.