But September 9 turned out to be a homecoming in the auto body class.
Chris Shader studied the auto body trade at BOCES in 1991-1992. On September 9, he prepared to pass along his knowledge to current students.
“Let’s give it a shot and see if I can give back to the area,” he said. “To the industry and get some people into the business.”
Shader said the program worked for him.
“Besides fixing my own vehicles and building a car while I was in high school, it was great to be able to get it at school,” he said. “I got a job within two weeks working in the industry.”
Neil Lavery is an eager Scotia-Glenville junior in his first year of auto body at BOCES.
“I want to work at my dad’s auto body shop,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do it all my life.”
On top of their regular studies, students are bussed from their various public high schools in 23 districts for two and a half hours of skill training a day. Robert Epps is a senior in the Vooheesville district. He’s in his second year of the program.
“I learn better hands on than just being lectured to,” he said.
Epps wants to own his own body shop, but first he wants to go to college and appreciates the BOCES course.
“Probably by now, I wouldn’t have known what I wanted to do with my future,” he said.
Others in the course just want the skills like Guilderland High School junior Destiny Maikels.
“I wanted to sign up because I like cars, and I’m interested in painting,” she said. “I will probably use it just for fun.”To help the students prepare, Shader returned to BOCES to lead the way by teaching safety, professionalism and hands-on skills.
Ninety-six percent of students go on to college or training schools after graduating from all of the programs at BOCES. Final numbers are due next week, but enrollment is up 10 percent to 11 percent from last year.