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OCM BOCES students excel at New York State SkillsUSA championships


May 1, 2024

Nine students from OCM BOCES placed in the top three on April 25 at the New York State (NYS) SkillsUSA championships at the New York State Fairgrounds.

One finisher, senior Maddox “Max” Albro of Tully, took the top prize. His first-place finish in the category of Information Technology Services allows him to compete at the national SkillsUSA championships from June 24 to 28 in Atlanta.

“Max did it! I am so proud of him!” said Richard Tokar, Albro’s Computer Technology teacher at the OCM BOCES Cortlandville Campus.

Max is a senior who spends half his day in the Career & Technical Education program in Cortlandville and the other half at Seven Valleys New Academy, an OCM BOCES high school in Cortland.

In addition to Max, another OCM BOCES student is heading to nationals as part of a New York State delegation team. Chittenango junior Matt Byrne, Area 2 vice president, and 13 other students will represent New York as state officers. Matt campaigned for the position earlier in the school year. He is believed to be the first OCM BOCES student to achieve this distinction.

At nationals, state officers will be introducing, debating, modifying and voting upon delegate items, including organization bylaws, ad hoc committees and the SkillsUSA national officer elections.

At the Fairgrounds, more than 2,600 students from 83 trade and technical schools around New York participated in the statewide event, which featured 88 trade and leadership contests. 

OCM BOCES had a big representation. Forty-eight OCM BOCES students from 17 school districts qualified for the state SkillsUSA championships because of exceptional top-three performances at a regional qualifying event on Feb. 9 at SUNY Morrisville. (Please click here for the full list of competing students.)

Students at the state championships represented the districts of Baldwinsville, Chittenango, Cincinnatus, Cortland, Fabius-Pompey, Fayetteville-Manlius, Homer, Jamesville-DeWitt, LaFayette Liverpool, Marathon, Marcellus, North Syracuse, Solvay, Tully, Westhill and West Genesee.


During the competition, students tested their skills before judges scattered across multiple fairground buildings. The top winners performed automobile repairs and maintenance, First Aid and CPR, basic health care, carpentry work, medical math and computer technology. Other students competed in categories such as baking and pastry arts, welding, early childhood education, esthetics and team quiz “bowls” in cosmetology and health. 

OCM BOCES advisors lauded the students’ efforts, professionalism, and support to their BOCES classmates and competitors.

“Our students represented our chapter so well in the competitions and through their actions and attitudes,” said Physical Therapy Professions teacher Christine Bosco, who co-advises SkillsUSA at the Cortlandville Campus with school counselor Rebecca Robertson. “I am so proud and honored to be one of their advisors!”

Danielle Curtis agreed. She’s a SkillsUSA co-advisor at Thompson Road Campus with Heather Hardke.

"It is an amazing experience as advisors to watch these kids step outside their comfort zones and compete against their peers,” she said. “They have the guts to do what I would never have done at their age. They cheer each other on and are there to support one another. They are all true champions — medal or no medal."

Max Albro had never competed at SkillsUSA until his senior year, but his computer technology skills are impressive. This year, he became 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.

“Max continues to enhance his abilities in anticipation of the national competition,” Tokar said. “He dedicates time to delving into the national standards and scope. Additionally, he remains committed to assisting with various projects within the classroom and throughout the school.” 

Another student who competed, Ruth Lin of Liverpool, chose the “Job Demo A” category, which required her to demonstrate hand and nail care on a prosthetic arm. She learned her skills through the Health Occupations program at the OCM BOCES Thompson Road Campus. She practiced three times a day for nearly two weeks to prepare for the state championships. For Lin, however, participating in SkillsUSA was more about building self-confidence and her ability to do public presentations. 

“It helped me communicate and made me feel more comfortable speaking,” she said. “I’m glad I did it.”