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Valhalla BOCES Showcases Unique Courses

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Auto body work, hair styling and wedding cake decorating were just a few of the activities on display by the county’s high school students at the Southern Westchester’s BOCES open house.

“It’s a great opportunity not only for the parents of our current students to see all of the hard work that they’ve put in over the past few months,” said BOCES Event Coordinator Colleen Murray. “But also for prospective parents and children to come and see what we’re all about.”

The event was held Thursday evening as parents and students had free reign around the Valhalla campus to check out the many unique departments that the school offers. Cosmetology, culinary, automotive technology, emergency medical services and digital media design are just a few of the departments students can study while at BOCES. Each department offers their own unique lessons and programs to teach students lessons to translate into the professional world.

Samantha Eisner, of Thornwood, is a culinary student at Thornwood and was showcasing her baking and decorating skills Thursday night.

“I really would one day like to be a pastry chef,” Eisner said, who recently completing decorating a full-sized wedding cake. “So here we get to learn the different skills that go along with that and now we can show it off to our families.”

Students in automotive technology were recently given the opportunity to repair and paint some go-karts from the New Roc Speedway in New Rochelle. Paul Casagrande, a counselor in the automotive technology department, said parents were very receptive to the project Thursday evening.

“It’s funny because the parents will come through the shop here to see what their children have been working on and they’ll see the go-karts and they’ll be like ‘oh I’ve seen those out there before,’ and it’s nice,” Casagrande said.

Although the school hopes to attract new students through the open house, Murray said it’s also about helping out their current ones.

“I like seeing the kids feel excited when they get to showcase their work and what they have learned,” Murray said. “It’s really a big self-esteem booster.”

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