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Cortland SkillsUSA students’ hard work leaves a legacy

For the past 25 years, Cathy Wakeman has lived in a small town near Cortland, New York. Cathy always loved everything about her small town life and appreciates the fact that she grew up living at a slower pace than most people.
 
As a child, Cathy had opportunities right within her neighborhood to ride bikes and play ball and hang out with her friends. But there was one thing she didn’t have – a playground.
 
“When you wanted to meet your friends at the playground, you had to go miles away and leave our safe little community,” Cathy said.
 
That changed in early October though as her community came together to build the Montgomery Park Playground with help from OCM BOCES SkillsUSA students from Cortland.
 
In just under one week, hundreds of local business men and women, community members, students and other volunteers gathered on the empty lot and constructed a beautiful playground from the ground up. The playground, which had existed on paper for several months prior to the hands-on work, originated through Play by Design engineers.
 
It was a true community effort. Prior to the actual build, the community raised thousands of dollars for the project and people donated food, childcare, building materials, tools and more. During the build, several local restaurants provided meals and local contractors took time off of their regular jobs to be on site to help coordinate the volunteer efforts. 
 
Among the many generous volunteers were more than 30 OCM BOCES SkillsUSA students from the McEvoy Campus. For two days the students joined instructors Julie Allen, Nicole Fraccola and Kevin Auyer for several hours of hands-on hard labor. Students pitched in by doing any task needed. They painted, filled holes with cement, shoveled dirt, set posts, measured, cut and laid ground cover and moved and raked wheelbarrows full of gravel.
 
Julie Allen is proud of the work the students did and said it was a great experience for all involved. “Many of the students were able to make connections with future employers as well as talk about their current jobs,” she said. “One student even said that the connection he made confirmed for him that he knows what he wants to pursue after graduation this year.” 
 
OCM BOCES would like to thank the students that helped with the Montgomery Park Playground build. Your generosity will have a lasting impact on the small community!
 
Students who helped with the build include: Ashley Hulbert (Cosmetology junior) from Marathon CSD, Julia Gutierrez (Cosmetology junior) from Cortland ECSD, Hailee Rice (Cosmetology junior) from Cincinnatus CSD, Madison Nate (Cosmetology junior) from Cincinnatus CSD, Ed Young (Computer Technology junior) from Tully CSD, Hanna Bilodeau (Cosmetology junior) from McGraw CSD,  Maddi Woolridge (Culinary Arts junior) from DeRuyter CSD, Isiah Bowers (Cosmetology junior) from Cortland ECSD, Marissa Sweet (Cosmetology junior) from Cortland ECSD, Erikesha Martin (Culinary Arts junior) from Cortland ECSD, Juliana Evangelista (Cosmetology junior) from Homer CSD, Erica Pilcher (Cosmetology junior) from Fabius-Pompey CSD, Lexi Marks (Health Occupations junior) from Corltand ESCD, Reanna Moran (Early Childhood Education junior) from Cortland ECSD, Lauren Burton (Cosmetology junior) from Fabius-Pompey CSD, Zach McCall (Automotive Collision junior) from Homer CSD, Morgan Hill (Health Occupations senior) from Tully CSD, Allyson Porter (Health Occupations senior) from Tully CSD, Savannah Brewer (Culinary Arts senior) from Cortland ECSD, Danielle Tebol (Culinary Arts senior) from DeRuyter CSD, Emily Cortright (Cosmetology senior) from Cincinnatus CSD, Bri Bushnoe (Cosmetology senior) from Homer CSD, Carter Townsley (Health Occupations senior) from McGraw CSD, Ashlie Errin (Cosmetology senior) from Cincinnatus CSD, Taylor Burdick (Cosmetology senior) from Cortland ECSD, Colton Keating (Welding Technology senior) from Cortland ECSD, Wyatt Dexter (Welding Technology senior) from Homer CSD, Brandon Thomas (Computer Technology senior) from Cortland ECSD, Katlyn Hatch (Cosmetology senior) from Marathon CSD, Gretta Allen (Cosmetology senior) from Cortland ECSD, Caleb Stewart (Construction Trades senior) from Marathon CSD, Tyler Zacek (Construction Trades senior) from Cortland ECSD, Cole Burlew (Automotive Technology senior) from Marathon CSD, Tori Bleck (Cosmetology senior) from Marathon CSD and Sam Gleason (Welding Technology senior) from Cortland ECSD.


 

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J. Francis Manning, Ed. D.
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