Collage of 14 SkillsUSA trophy winners

Fourteen Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Career and Technical Education students won awards at the recent SkillsUSA New York Area II Regional Conference – including seven first-places – and one student who won two awards.

The SkillsUSA competitions are valuable experiences for CTE students, said Herkimer BOCES Cosmetology instructor Holly Rotundo Fischer, who is co-advisor of SkillsUSA with Cosmetology teaching assistant Sarah Jacquays-Alberts.

“Participating at this level helps boost their confidence,” Rotundo Fischer said. “It makes some of them realize that they can do things they didn’t know they were capable of doing.”

Herkimer BOCES sent 30 students and seven staff members to the SkillsUSA New York Area II Regional Conference on Feb. 11 at SUNY Morrisville. Students from 17 BOCES or technical centers participated in the conference.

All students who attended also received their SkillsUSA Statesman Awards and are eligible for a $250 scholarship per semester if they attend SUNY Morrisville.

The recent SkillsUSA conference was the first one students attended since about two years ago because last year’s regional competition was canceled due to COVID-19.

This year’s conference had some changes in place due to COVID-19 to limit the number of contestants per competition, but it was nice to get back to a conference, Rotundo Fischer said.

“It was exciting because you get to be in person and to give the kids that opportunity to showcase their skills,” she said.

Herkimer BOCES SkillsUSA students are now preparing for the New York State SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Championships from April 27-29 at the Syracuse Fairgrounds.

Participating in SkillsUSA and the competitions provides many benefits for students, Rotundo Fischer said.

“This makes them go outside of the box and gets them out of their comfort zone,” she said. “They make connections with people in the industries, and I do think it gives them an edge when they’re applying for a job.”

The following Herkimer BOCES students won awards (students are listed with their BOCES program and school district in parentheses, and the photos below are in the same order as students are listed here):

First Place in Cosmetology Senior: Emma Kocienda (Cosmetology, Mount Markham).

First Place in Employment Application Process: Carly Bellinger (Cosmetology, Herkimer).

First Place in Job Skills Demo Open: Quinn Battisti (Conservation, Little Falls).

First Place in Motorcycle Technology: Hunter Iamele (Outdoor Power Equipment, Herkimer).

First Place in Power Equipment Technology: Jacob Wistozaly (Outdoor Power Equipment, Mount Markham).

First Place in Precision Heavy Equipment Operation: Trevor Holden Jr. (Heavy Equipment, Central Valley).

First Place in Small Engine Service Technology: Lucas Rich (Outdoor Power Equipment, Central Valley).

Second Place in Action Skills: Hunter Hartman (Conservation, Herkimer).

Second Place in Advertising Design: Gabrielle Ross (Visual Communications Media Arts, Poland).

Second Place in Pin Design: Madison Radziewicz (Visual Communications Media Arts, Mount Markham).

Third Place in Early Childhood Education: Kalie Schnitt (Child and Family Services, Frankfort-Schuyler).

Third Place in Prepared Speech: Nathan Sperl (Conservation, Central Valley).

Third Place in Promotion Bulletin Board (team): Visual Communications Media Arts students Savannah Dennis (Herkimer), Delaney Kerr (Frankfort-Schuyler) and Madison Radziewicz (Mount Markham).


Collage of 14 SkillsUSA trophy winners

Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES SkillsUSA students who won awards at the SkillsUSA New York Area II Regional Conference at SUNY Morrisville are pictured here in a collage. From left: Emma Kocienda, Carly Bellinger, Quinn Battisti, Hunter Iamele, Jacob Wistozaly, Trevor Holden Jr., Lucas Rich, Hunter Hartman, Gabrielle Ross, Madison Radziewicz, Kalie Schnitt, Nathan Sperl, Savannah Dennis and Delaney Kerr.


Most of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES SkillsUSA students who won awards at the SkillsUSA New York Area II Regional Conference at SUNY Morrisville pose together for a photo.