A capacity crowd of teachers, administrators and family members filled the Sheldon Hall Ballroom to capacity Wednesday morning (June 11) to congratulate graduates of the Oswego County BOCES New Vision Program.
The year-end ceremony recognized nearly 80 students who completed one year of study in the OCB New Vision Allied Health, Law and Government, and Specialized Careers programs.
Each offering provided high school seniors with a chance to explore different career fields, with classroom learning coupled with twice-weekly rotations at various sites across the county.
“Journalism, education, health, law and government, veterinary science … what these kids are able to experience is more than many of their peers or even college students experience,” said New Vision team leader Dianna Nesbitt.
Student speaker Meghan LiVoti, of Oswego High School, echoed those sentiments.
“Not many of our peers have had this kind of opportunity to better their education in the classroom and in society,” she said. “This program has enhanced our education … and given us a head start toward our future careers.”
The experiential learning that defines the New Vision program has a lifelong impact, as Oswego County Clerk Michael Backus attested to during his remarks. Backus attended the New Vision Law and Government program in 2002, and many of the people he worked with at that time are now his colleagues.
“I’m a huge champion of this program and what it does for the students,” Backus said. “I got to experience a program that will be with me for the rest of my life.”
The partnerships that BOCES has forged with local businesses, service providers and government agencies has been a critical component in the New Vision program’s longevity and success, said OCB Career and Technical Education Principal Marla Berlin.
“The experiences, the opportunities, the connections, the time that you’ve given to these students has changed their outlook on their futures,” Berlin said. “If you wonder if your participation in the New Vision program makes a difference, just ask one of the students here to tell you about one of his or her experiences. You’ll see and hear how you’ve made a difference.”
In addition to recognizing all the graduates with a certificate of completion, several students earned special honors. The Eileen Ponto Scholarship was presented to Evan Davis, of Oswego, who is pursuing a post-secondary career in the health field.
The Most Improved Awards were presented to Selena Craw (Mexico), Kerrigan Holley (APW), Cassondra Horridge (Pulaski) and Elaine Powers (Mexico).