BOCES students give presentation at Gowanda board meeting

GOWANDA – Students of the Vo-Tech programs at BOCES are gaining life skills through the national program Skills USA. Two Gowanda students presented to the board about their experiences in Skills USA.

BOCES Principal Joe Pagan and Skills USA advisor Kevin Valentine, along with students Katelyn Bigham and Sean Burke, addressed the board.

Valentine explained the Skills USA and the competitions which students participate in based on their own individualized skill. If successful, students can advance from local competitions all the way to national championships.

“They meet students from all over New York state and meet students from all over the country,” Valentine said.

Bigham, a senior, went last year to the competitions. During the competition, she campaigned and was elected as a national officer for Skills USA. She said she has become more mature and more confident through the Skills USA program.

“Without the experiences in Skills USA, I wouldn’t be what I am,” she said.

Burke is going to the Skills USA national competition for welding and said he has learned valuable lessons from the competitions.

“It has taught me how to be prepared for anything,” Burke said.

Business Executive Joelle Woodward also said the district has been working on a resolution to borrow a RAN for some months. The district is still waiting to receive Native American aid. According to Woodward, borrowing a RAN can only happen prior to the end of the fiscal year.

“You cannot borrow money prior to two weeks before your fiscal year, which works for us but will be cutting it very close,” she said.

The district will have to wait until mid-June to borrow money if the Native American aid does not come in by June 1. The board did not make any decision on a RAN but will further discuss the option if necessary.

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