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Tech Center At Putnam|Northern Westchester BOCES Graduates 486

The Tech Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES held its graduation ceremonies on Wednesday.
The Tech Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES held its graduation ceremonies on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Four hundred eighty-six students graduated from the Tech Center at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES on Wednesday after completing studies in the fields of cosmetology, animation, graphic arts, engineering, culinary arts, computer science, law enforcement and construction, among others.

Stephen Lowry, executive principal of the Tech Center, asked the graduates one question: “Interested or committed?” Being interested, he said, is like dipping your toe into a pool on a hot day while being committed is like running at full sprint and diving right into the pool. 

He told them they could choose to either be interested in what they do or committed and joked that when he was in college, he was interested in getting good grades, but his professors were committed to giving him bad grades. He then asked the graduates which of them would be committed to working hard and was met by thunderous cheers from the students. 

Fox Lane’s Kole Nikprelaj, a graduating student in the New Visions Health program, shared his motivation for a career in medicine. He said his sister, Stephanie, was born with cerebral palsy and he had asked his mom how he could help her. His mother replied, "The only people who can help your sister are doctors." At that point, he said he knew he wanted to become a doctor. 

Nikprelaj urged his classmates to find their own motivation, saying that once they find it, they will be able to succeed in any field. 

Claudio Velardo, a graduate of sports medicine from Ossining, recalled touring the BOCES campus as a sophomore. “Right away I knew BOCES was the best place for me to be,” adding that the school “allows us to explore and expand our knowledge in different careers.”

The ceremony was closed with a poem by cosmetology student Liliana Marie Escamilla from Brewster while the graduates cheered and threw their caps high into the air. 

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