Students show their 'Skills' at competition


By Joe Moskowitz
Two students from Margaretville and one from Roxbury are about to compete for a national championship.

Caleb Todd and Sean Gauntt of MCS, and Spencer Hinkley of RCS were on the five-member team that recently won the New York state “Skills USA” competition. In June they will head to Kansas City, MO for the “Quiz Bowl” where the national championship will be determined.

“Skills USA” team members are given 75 questions. Some of it is general knowledge, including current affairs and sports. Some of it is specific, like science, and that’s how these three kids from different schools got on the same, winning team.

Two of them will get diplomas from MCS and one from RCS, but this year, they are all students at BOCES in Grand Gorge. Traditionally, BOCES teaches skills to students who plan to enter the work force immediately after high school. “New Visions” is a new program geared toward kids who are headed to college in order to pursue their careers. There is a medical program. The students study at Fox Hospital in Oneonta and there is pre engineering; which is taught in Grand Gorge and Milford.

Todd, Gauntt, and Hinkley are all pre-engineering students and decided to enroll in the BOCES program last year. They knew they would not be at their regular schools for their senior year. MCS Superintendent Tony Albanese says arrangements were made so the boys could still participate in extracurricular activities.

An easy choice
Todd and Gauntt say it wasn’t a tough decision. In Gauntt’s case, he would have had four study halls had he remained. Hinkley says at Roxbury, physics would have been a distance learning course. That’s a class taught at another school that allows a student at another school to participate via computer. By entering the BOCES program, he will get college credit. He says the BOCES program allows him to learn about different types of engineering.

Earning credits
The three boys will get four calculus credits from Syracuse University and eight physics credits from SUNY Oneonta. That’s almost a half year of college at a total cost of $800. A single credit at a private college can cost as much $2,000. In addition to saving a great deal of money and getting college credit, the boys get to work with state-of-the-art equipment that high schools would never be able to provide.

Gauntt says it’s like being in between high school and college. Todd says it gives them an idea of what college will be like.

Gauntt and Todd will attend Clarkson University in Potsdam in the fall, while Hinkley will attend The Florida Institute of Technology. But for now they are part of a team that is going to the “Show Me State” to show them what they know.