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In the world of information technology, this OCM BOCES student stands out


In the world of information technology, this OCM BOCES student stands out

Feb. 15, 2024

Top: Max in his classroom. Bottom: Max takes first
place at SkillsUSA Regionals in February.

A broken laptop marked a seminal moment for Maddox Albro, 17, a senior from Tully. When he was 10 years old, Maddox, known as “Max,” loved his laptop but did not have the money to buy a new one or have it repaired. So he dug up some screwdrivers, took it apart, and fixed it himself.

Then I realized, maybe I have potential with this,” he said. “So I immersed myself into this life as much as possible, and here I am.”

“Here” is an impressive place. Max has become one of the most accomplished students in the history of the OCM BOCES Computer Technology program at the Cortlandville Campus. His teacher, Richard Tokar, says Max is the first student at OCM BOCES to earn three professional certifications through the Computing Technology Industry Association, or “CompTIA,” one of the world’s top trade associations for information technology professionals.

His certifications include:

  • “ITF+,” which covers foundational knowledge and skills in information technology, or IT;

  • “A+,” which covers the basics of hardware, networks, and computer systems and qualifies the recipient for entry-level IT jobs; and 

  • “Network+,” which validates the knowledge and skills you need to troubleshoot, configure and manage both wired and wireless networks found in companies around the world.

Max is also studying for a fourth certification, Security+, which focuses on core cybersecurity skills. If he earns that credential, he will have three advanced certifications — A+, Network+, and Security+. That’s what IT professionals call “the trifecta.”

“It’s unbelievable what Max has already accomplished right now,” Tokar said. “But if he gets the trifecta, it will certify that he has an extremely competent base of IT skills — industry professional skills.”

On top of his CompTIA accolades, Max is an excellent student. He’s already on track to earn 21 college credits through Tompkins Cortland Community College, or TC3.

He’s participating this year in SkillsUSA, a national organization that supports students in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. Students in SkillsUSA compete in regional, state and national competitions in their specific fields. Max took first place in Information Technology Services at a regional competition in February at SUNY Morrisville and will be heading to the state competition in April at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Max is also a huge asset to the Computer Tech classroom. He can point to several features in the room that represent the result of his handiwork: a server, a router, and “smart” lights that change color. He routinely helps his instructor with software updates, setting up labs, and preparing the technology for special events, such as open houses.

Max with Computer Technology teacher Richard Tokar

He’s a super nice guy, and everyone likes him,” Tokar said.

Every day, Max spends his afternoon in the Computer Technology classroom, but he also participates in another OCM BOCES program — Seven Valleys New Tech Academy, a small high school that lies just down the road in Cortland. Max signed up for Seven Valleys as an eighth grader because he was drawn to its focus on Project Based Learning, an instructional style that emphasizes student-driven inquiry, collaboration, communication skills, and community connections. He spends mornings in the high school, then gets bused to Cortlandville to spend the rest of his day in the computer lab.

Max already has big plans for next year. He has been accepted into the honors program to study computer information systems at SUNY Brockport. He has scholarships to help pay for tuition and room and board. He thinks his dream job would be to create and own a company that offers cloud-based servers to companies. He’s already using his skills to help a start-up company bring life to a revolutionary idea — a computer application that works like Uber Eats to bring food to people on boats.

Max admits — everything could change in the lightning-quick world of technology.

But he knows his success depends on working hard, just as he worked hard to study for and pass three challenging CompTIA tests. His accomplishments have already put him far ahead of most college students entering the field.

“My dream is to have a tech company of my own,” he said. “There’s something way more novel about being able to say that you started a company or created a product yourself.”