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CTE graduate says ‘thank you’ and welcomes new Career & Technical students

September 15, 2016 | Filed in Archive
Justin Gillen

CTE Environmental Conservation program graduate Justin Gillen thanks HFM BOCES for helping him realize his dream to attend Paul Smith’s College on the way to his goal of becoming a New York State Forest Ranger.

We like to hear from past students. When they complete their HFM program, and are out making a future for themselves in the workplace or college, their news is always an encouraging testimony to why we do what we do at HFM BOCES.

A message appeared on our Facebook page recently that we want to share.

“Hello my name is Justin Gillen. I graduated from Amsterdam High School and HFM BOCES last year and I figured I could take this time to welcome new students and give a giant thank you to HFM BOCES for being a platform to enter my college career and future career.”

“HFM BOCES changed me from a C or D student to an A student and I can’t thank them enough. I majored in Forestry (Environmental Conservation) at HFM BOCES under a fantastic man and teacher, Adam Cancio. He helped me become a better student and a better worker. He introduced me to things I thought I couldn’t do and guess what? For example, doing a proper wedge cut with a chainsaw… never thought I’d do it… but, after hard work and dedication I didn’t just learn how to do my wedge cut, I went on to pass my Game Of Logging certification.

Justin offered a few words of encouraging advice to new CTE students.

“The last two years of [high school] are gonna go by fast, so take the time to breathe, look around and take everything in. I made many new friends and after a while, everyone almost seemed like family. This opportunity is once in a lifetime. You don’t get this kind of experience in any other high school.

“My goal and dream was to go to Paul Smith’s College and study Natural Resource Conservation and Management, and in the future become a New York State Forest Ranger. I’m fulfilling my goal and I’m living my dream as I am now a freshman student at Paul Smith’s College with a major in Natural Resource Conservation and Management.

“So once again thank you. Without HFM BOCES this wouldn’t be possible. Welcome to new students and take advantage of what’s in front of you. This is truly amazing.”

Justin Gillen completed his two-year Career and Technical program in Environmental Conservation and received the Highest Average Award in his program at CTE’s Student Recognition Ceremony on June 21, 2016.