Four years into the program, the Hamilton Fulton Montgomery Pathways in Technology Early College High School has its first group of students completing the program.
Twelve students, about 28 percent of the inaugural HFM PTECH class, have earned their associate degrees from Fulton Montgomery Community College and will receive their high school diplomas in the coming weeks.
“This group of students, who took a chance on this concept for a new approach to secondary education, have helped guide the transformation of how we structure high schools in the region,” HFM BOCES Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel said. “We can no longer separate high school and college, and the success of these students has propelled the model forward.”
HFM PTECH launched in 2014 and includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework from freshman year and allows students to choose their own “pathways” to middle-level skilled jobs. Through the 4- to 6-year program, students can earn one of 10 different associate degrees at no cost to their families and will be considered for jobs with participating companies when they graduate.
Gloversville and Johnstown partnered and were awarded a grant to open Foothills PTECH this fall, and HFM BOCES is working with other school districts in the area, including Amsterdam and Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, to offer college degree and career pathway opportunities for their students next year using the HFM PTECH model.
“These students were the trailblazers, and every experience they’ve had in the past four years has played a part in strengthening the HFM PTECH program for those coming behind them,” Principal Mike Dardaris said. “This group of students has worked extremely hard to be able to complete a program of this rigor in just four years.”
Dardaris noted that many of the students in PTECH’s inaugural class are on track to earn their associate degrees by June of 2019 to finish the program in five years.
HFM PTECH was born when a consortium of HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and regional business partners in 2013 won a statewide grant for funding a PTECH program that targets students who might not otherwise consider a college pathway, using a variety of demographic, academic and social indicators. The school opened its doors at the Jansen Avenue school in Johnstown for the 2014-15 school year with 50 ninth-grade students from the component school districts. Each year, about 50 freshmen are accepted into the program.
The students who are completing the HFM PTECH program this spring are as follows:
Theresa Clark is a member of HFM PTECH’s inaugural class and has earned both her high school diploma and associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College in four years.
During her time at PTECH, Theresa was a member of the Judicial Council, Student Government Association and the Yearbook Committee. She also founded an afterschool club known as Theresa’s Tea Time that highlighted the arts, and she held an internship with Mohawk Cabinet to help create the company’s website.
In 2016, Theresa was part of delegate of five students who represented PTECH at the Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Theresa has been on the PTECH Principal’s List and FMCC’s Dean’s List every semester, and she is a member of the college’s academic fraternity Phi Theta Kappa.
While at FMCC, Theresa conceptualized and helped organize a “Friend Speed Dating” event in which FMCC students interacted with foreign exchange students with the goal of helping the students from China make friends and acclimate to their new school.
Outside of school, she is a certified nurse’s assistant and works for Nurse Connections.
Beginning in the fall, Theresa plans to major in biology at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she has earned three academic scholarships. After she finishes her bachelor’s degree, she wants to continue on to medical school to become a pathologist.
Theresa is the daughter of Maurice and Terry Clark of Gloversville.
Hunter Fifield is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, receiving his high school diploma and associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College.
Hunter has consistently been on the Principal’s List at PTECH and the Dean’s List at FMCC.
He is a member of FMCC’s academic fraternity Phi Theta Kappa, for which he has served as secretary.
Hunter says his many hospital stays as a child because of severe asthma inspired him to want to help others the way so many doctors helped him. His time shadowing in the operating room and emergency room at Nathan Littauer Hospital has solidified his interest in the pursuing a career in medicine.
Hunter will continue his education in the fall at Hartwick College as a biology major with plans to eventually enroll in the SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse to ultimately become a surgeon.
Hunter received two academic scholarships from Hartwick — the College Founders Award and the Oyaron Scholarship.
Hunter is the son of Kimberly Zuppardi of Amsterdam and Brian Fifield and Tina Miller of Queensbury.
Ryan Ndichu Kamanu is receiving his high school diploma along with his associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College, completing the HFM PTECH program in four years.
He served as the treasurer and trustee for the Student Government Association at PTECH and has been a member of STEP (Science Technology Entry Program) at Amsterdam High School. Ryan also ran cross country and indoor and outdoor track for AHS.
Ryan was part of delegate of five students who in 2016 represented PTECH at the Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Throughout his time in school, Ryan has worked to help his family, including at the Target Distribution Center, GoodFellas Pizza and Burger King.
He spent the summer of 2017 completing basic training with the Army National Guard. Following graduation, Ryan will head to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for 16 weeks of combat medic school.
He plans to return to school in the spring of 2018 and will attend either Houghton College for biochemistry or Norwich University for neuroscience. He ultimately wants to go to medical school and have a career in emergency medicine, pediatrics or as an Army doctor.
Ryan is the son of Jennifer and Calvert Wisdom of Amsterdam and Simon Kamanu Ndichu of Las Vegas.
Joshua Licciardo is a member of HFM PTECH’s first graduating class, having earned his high school diploma and associate degree in accounting from Fulton Montgomery Community College in four years.
Joshua’s strong performance in business classes led his professors to recommend him as a paid tutor at FMCC. Throughout his senior year, he has tutored FMCC students in accounting, business, tax law and bookkeeping.
In May, Joshua was named business student of the year at the Capital Region Business and Marketing Educators’ Association’s annual student recognition dinner at the Century House in Latham. He also has earned multiple certifications from the American Institute of Public Bookkeepers.
Joshua is a member of the college’s academic fraternity Phi Theta Kappa, and he has been on the PTETCH Honor Roll and the FMCC Dean’s List.
During his time at PTECH, he was a trustee for the Student Government Association and a member of the Underwater Robotics Club. He also ran cross country for Johnstown High School.
Joshua plans to enter the workforce to add experience to his resume and in the near future continue school with a goal of earning his master’s degree in business administration.
Mackienzie Longale is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, earning her high school diploma and her associate degree from Fulton Montgomery Community College in health studies.
Mackienzie has been on the Honor Roll at PTECH, has been a member of the Judicial Council and Underwater Robotics Club at PTECH and part of the FMCC Art Guild. She has danced for Shooting Stars Dance Academy in Fonda for many years.
Mackienzie was named Miss Fonda Fair 2017, and through that organization has volunteered in many places, including the Salvation Army, Creative Connections House in Amsterdam and the Johnstown Moose.
This year, Mackienzie held an internship at the Glen Animal Hospital, where she will continue working into the summer. She is continuing her education at Santa Fe College in Gainsville, Fla., in the zoo tech program at their teaching zoo, where she hopes to work with exotic animals like the large cats.
She is the daughter of Karen Murray and Jeff Phillips of Fonda.
Vorachot Lowsuwansiri, known to most as Money, is completing the HFM PTECH program after four years, earning his high school diploma and an associate degree from Fulton Montgomery Community College in health studies.
Vorachot’s family moved to the United States from Thailand when he was in third grade, and he had to learn English while attending school in Amsterdam.
Vorachot has been on PTECH’s Principal’s List and has participated in the St. Mary’s Medical Explorers and PTECH’s Judicial Council. He has been an intern at Nathan Littauer Hospital.
In 2016, he was part of delegate of five students who represented PTECH at the Model Schools Conference in Orlando, Fla.
Vorachot plans to complete EMT training this summer, join the Air Force in a medical job this fall and to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the future.
Vorachot is the son of son of Stephen and Kanjana Cleveland of Amsterdam.
Christopher Pikul is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, receiving his high school diploma and associate degree in Health Studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College.
He has been on the Principal’s List at PTECH and was a member of the Underwater Robotics Club and Judicial Council. At FMCC, he has served as the Fulmont College Association committee’s vice president.
Inspired by the doctors that saved his grandfather’s life when he had cancer, Chris plans to pursue a career in medicine, possibly dermatology. He currently works part time as an occupational medical associate and CPR instructor at Eastern Medical Support and had an internship in a physical therapy office.
Chris plays lacrosse for Amsterdam High School, in addition to club teams, and plans to continue playing for Hartwick College or SUNY Oneonta when he returns to school in the spring of 2019. He has been awarded the Hartwick College Founders Award and the Hartwick President’s Scholarship.
Chris lives with his uncle Sean Piasecki in Amsterdam and will be the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Allison Ricci is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, earning her high school diploma and associate degree in health studies from FMCC in four years.
Allison has been on the PTECH Honor Roll and the FMCC Dean’s List.
Allison has been involved in many extra-curricular activities, including the PTECH Dance Club, Underwater Robotics Club and the Criminal Justice Club at FMCC. She also participated in cheerleading, lacrosse, swimming and diving and softball for Johnstown High School. She has danced and taught dance at Highlights in Johnstown and Shooting Stars in Fonda. She also is an active cheerleading competitor for Twin City Twisters.
Allison attributes her interest in becoming a forensic technician to the CSI Project at PTECH her freshman year. She was able to shadow with the New York State Police in their lab and at the police academy.
She plans to attend SUNY Canton in the fall and major in criminal investigation.
Allison is the daughter of Lynn Pabis and Joseph Ricci of Johnstown.
Katherine Sampere is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, receiving her high school diploma and her associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College.
Katherine plans to continue her studies in the fall at SUNY Cobleskill to work toward becoming at veterinary technician. Katherine says her experience riding and showing horses fueled her interest in a career caring for large animals.
In addition to her job at a local grocery store, Katherine has been an intern at the Johnstown Animal Clinic, where she plans to continue working this summer.
During her time at PTECH, Katherine has participated in the Underwater Robotics Club and played soccer for OESJ.
Katherine was the recipient of PTECH’s annual Bridge Award, given to a junior who brings the morals and values from PTECH to FMCC, including helping peers and overcoming obstacles. In receiving this award, she was recognized for maintaining her commitment to the PTECH program while handling all the household affairs while her mother was ill and hospitalized for an extended period of time.
Katherine is the daughter of Roberta and Michael Sampere of Oppenheim.
Jonathan Santiago is graduating with his high school diploma and his associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College, completing the HFM PTECH program in 4 years.
Jon plans to continue his education at Sage College in the fall with aspirations to become a nurse practitioner. He received the Dean’s Honors Award scholarship from Sage.
Jon also was accepted into the Sage’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, where he will attend this summer to get a jump start at the school.
Jon has been on the PTECH Honor Roll and the Dean’s List at FMCC, where he also was a member of the Fulmont College Association.
This year, he held an internship in nuclear medicine and in radiology at St. Mary’s Hospital.
Jon has been a member of the Amsterdam High School varsity wrestling team for four years.
He is the son of Nichole and Manuel Santiago.
Jasmine Tate is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, receiving her high school diploma and her associate degree in health studies from Fulton Montgomery Community College.
Jasmine has been a member of PTECH’s Underwater Robotics Club and has been on the Dean’s List at FMCC. She was the recipient of PTECH’s annual Jordan Rave Award because of her ability to maintain good grades while overcoming the challenges of being in foster care.
She has been working at an internship as the afternoon receptionist at HFM BOCES since January.
Jasmine plans to take a year off from school and enter the workforce and intends to pursue her bachelor’s degree in cognitive psychology from SUNY Buffalo. She eventually wants to earn her master’s degree in the subject and work to help the mentally ill.
Jasmine is the daughter of Solomon and Jessica Tate of Gloversville. She also says her grandmother, Claudia Tate, has been a great source of support.
Joshua Scott is completing the HFM PTECH program this spring, having earned both his high school diploma and associate degree in business administration from Fulton Montgomery Community College in four years.
Joshua has been on the Principal’s List for PTECH and also consistently has been on the Dean’s List at FMCC. He is a member of the college’s academic fraternity, Phi Theta Kappa, to which he was admitted in his junior year of high school. Josh also was a member of the Underwater Robotics Club at PTECH and currently works at Burger King.
Joshua plans to work for the next year and return to college in the fall of 2019 to finish his bachelor’s degree. He ultimately hopes to use his degree to work in culinary management.
When he isn’t busy with work and school, he enjoys hunting, fishing and hiking.
Joshua is the son of Charles and Shannon Wager of Caroga Lake.
Joshua said he fondly remembers the inaugural commitment ceremony at the beginning of his PTECH journey. And though he says he had to work hard to persevere through his last semester, he’s thrilled to be part of the school’s first graduating class.