Throughout Career and Technical Education Month®, Questar III BOCES will be putting a spotlight on our students, staff, alumniprogramspartners and more.


Meet Michael Brooks, a Robert H. Gibson Technical School Heavy Equipment Senior and SkillsUSA member from Brittonkill CSD!

“When I learned Questar III BOCES offered a Heavy Equipment program, I instantly knew I wanted to join. I’ve been working with equipment since I was a young child with my father. I love that this school offers me a chance at a hands-on education versus a traditional classroom setting, I learn better by doing. And the teachers here are great! They have a background in the programs they teach and therefore are more credible to their students. You can also tell that they genuinely want their students to succeed in our field. Having the opportunity to participate in job shadowing and internships is a great way to prepare for my future, plus SkillsUSA teaches me other skills, like communication, networking and how to be a leader in the community. It’s important that we give back.”


Meet Brielle Stang, a Donald R. Kline Technical School Cosmetology Junior and SkillsUSA member from Taconic Hills.

“I joined CTE after seeing my older brother find success attending this school,” said Brielle Stang. “He graduated a few years ago from the Criminal Justice program and is now a Columbia County Sheriff. Knowing that I’ve always wanted to be in Cosmetology, and I like to be proactive, it made perfect sense to join this program. I’m a hands-on person. Working with my hands is a better learning experience for me. I also really enjoy that subjects like math and science are tied back into our program, and we learn them in a way that relates to our field. I find myself to be a more professional and outgoing student here. I wasn’t involved in a lot of groups at my home district, so I decided to join SkillsUSA to push myself to try something new. This experience is helping me develop my people skills and become a leader. My goal is to own a full-service salon and attending this school gives me the opportunity to get my certification right out of high school.”


Meet Cody Thompson, a Marilyn A. Noonan School at Durham Heavy Equipment Senior and SkillsUSA member from Greenville CSD.

“My dad is a great role model,” said Cody Thompson. “He’s an operator and I’ve spent my entire life listening to his work stories, I always found them interesting. He inspired me to become an operator too. What I love about the Heavy Equipment program with Questar III BOCES is the freedom to learn. We can try new things, and there’s never any criticism as we do, everyone is building each other up. I really enjoy the hands-on education. Yes, we still have regular classwork to do, but I enjoy being able to go outside and use the equipment daily. The teachers here also know you better as an individual. With a smaller class size and total number of students, their curriculum is more individualized based on your needs and goals. Being able to graduate with several certifications is a great benefit to this school too. Some people just don’t have the opportunity to get these certifications – be it due to time or finances. These certifications, combined with the personal and workplace skills I learn from SkillsUSA, will give me a leg up on others who are also entering the workforce this year. Thanks to the Youth Apprenticeship Program, I interned last summer as an apprentice mechanic at Peckham Industries. That opportunity has led to my employment there this summer!”


Meet Sam Mozzillo, a Donald R. Kline Technical School Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) & Health Careers Senior and SkillsUSA member from Coxsackie-Athens CSD.

“I chose to enroll in this program with Questar III BOCES as a way to give back to my community,” said Sam Mozzillo. “My father, a member of the Athens Volunteer Fire Department, played a big role in my interest. In fact, he inspired me to join the department too! Being here will allow me to learn the skills I need to take the EMT-B Exam when I turn 18, skills I can use to become a bigger asset to my department, or possibly join other ambulance agencies in the area. It’s far more than just learning the course material when you’re in a CTE program. I find it easier to get one on one time with my teacher, more bonding opportunities with classmates, and learning from professionals in the field is a unique aspect that’s not always available at a traditional school. In this program, I have the opportunity to participate in clinicals at Columbia-Memorial Hospital. Here, I get real life patient contact and work alongside the hospital staff by taking vital signs, EKGs, spiking bags, helping ambulance companies move patients from stretches to beds and more. We’ll get to experience almost all floors of the hospital before the end of the year! In addition to my time at Columbia-Memorial, I have also had ride time with Coxsackie Ambulance and Greene County Paramedics. As a member of SkillsUSA, I have enjoyed our fundraising efforts throughout the year and am looking forward to our upcoming competition season. Being part of this group has been a great opportunity to bond more with my classmates, and I can’t wait to see where we all end up!”


Meet Maysen Heslin, a Robert H. Gibson Technical School Criminal Justice Senior and SkillsUSA member from Averill Park CSD.

“I joined the Criminal Justice program with Questar III BOCES because I have family in law enforcement and knew I too wanted to protect and serve,” said Maysen Heslin. What’s great about being here is the hands-on experience. I can learn what the law enforcement field is really like because I’m learning from professionals who work or have worked in the field, including my teacher. It feels more authentic than reading it in a textbook. Coming here was like starting fresh with a clean sheet of paper. I created my own reputation by applying myself and working hard. I feel like I would be an average student had I not joined this program. Being involved with SkillsUSA has been a great addition to my standard education here, allowing me more opportunities to prepare for my future and become a leader.”


Meet Jacob Allen, a Robert H. Gibson Technical School Auto Tech Senior and SkillsUSA member from East Greenbush CSD.

“I have been working on cars with my father since I was old enough to hold a wrench,” said Jacob Allen. “They say that if you love something, you should make a career of it, so that’s what I plan to do! Having the opportunity to join the Questar III BOCES Auto Tech program and learn every day from professionals has expanded my knowledge in the automotive industry, skills I am taking with me already at my part time job at an automotive parts store. Using that knowledge at work is also allowing me to begin networking with professionals outside of school, too! We all hear how the trades are dying; our teachers are working to revitalize them through us, and it is a great service to our community. In fact, promoting the trades is one reason I joined SkillsUSA. Altogether, my experience here has led to college and career opportunities that I may not have received elsewhere.”

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