I recently had the opportunity to have lunch prepared by some of our Tappan Zee High School students at the Rockland County BOCES Culinary Arts Program. While I was eating my lunch, I had the impulse to give this meal a five-star review on Yelp. However, I had to continually remind myself that this was a Career and Technical Education program and not an exclusive restaurant listed on Yelp. I started with a mixed green salad with marinated cherry tomatoes and had a choice of two entrees. The entree I selected was a delicious, sauteed breast of chicken with artichoke hearts and roasted peppers, grilled baby carrots and roasted potatoes. For dessert, I had deconstructed raspberry cheesecake. The meal was amazing and reflected the culinary talents and personal dedication of the students. After lunch, I had the opportunity to meet with our Tappan Zee High School students enrolled in CTEC culinary arts training at Rockland BOCES (pictured below): Louis Rodriguez, grade 12; Tatiana Guzman, grade 11; and Elizabeth Caramante, grade 12.
Later this month, Tatiana will compete in the Prostart Culinary Team Competition to be held at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She and her team will prepare an entree of sauteed shrimp with eggplant and olive caponata with penne pasta in a sauce of red wine, EVO, and fresh herbs. All three of our TZHS culinary students have expressed a desire to connect their academic pursuits to their career interests. As educators, it is very compelling when we see students, such as these, create a program of study that is driven by their interests and a desire to hone their career skills. Many of our students involved in career and technical education are able to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyles that will allow them to focus on goals that can be achieved over a lifetime.
With voter support of our 2018-19 budget, SOCSD created 16 additional seats for students to attend Rockland BOCES Career and Technical Education programs and 4 additional Career Services Programs seats this school year. This is just one example of the many ways that we’re creating more opportunities and experiences to prepare students for life after graduation. In the weeks ahead, I look forward to sharing more information about what’s in the 2019-20 budget for the benefit of our young learners.