PTECH students complete Summer Bridge Program

JOHNSTOWN – The students in the inaugural class of Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Pathways in Technology Early College High School on Friday gathered for the school’s first Commitment Ceremony.

The ceremony at Jansen Avenue School included the students submitting their commitments to their education and graduation, as well as a red string being tied around students’ wrists as a symbol of good fortune as they move forward in their academic journey, a news release said.

“It’s not just a high school and college, it’s the future – it’s our future,” said PTECH student Melody McClary of Amsterdam in her address to the audience in the release.

The ceremony, which was attended by many of the 50 students’ family members, culminated the school’s Summer Bridge Program, which began July 21. The students spent the previous three weeks on the Fulton-Montgomery Community College campus and at the Jansen Avenue School in classes and doing team-building activities, the release said.

The students also had the opportunity to mingle and engage with representatives from the school’s sponsor businesses during a morning mixer Thursday at the Jansen Avenue School.

The event brought members of the class and the business community together for the first time, according to a news release. During the next six years of the PTECH program, the students will establish relationships with employees of the partner businesses, who will mentor them in various career fields.

According to the release, the morning’s events included a “treasure hunt,” in which the students were tasked with finding out more about the business representatives; a panel discussion that allowed the students to ask their business partners questions about their careers; and a “power lunch,” where the conversations between students and adults could continue.

“We want to keep you here, and we want to keep our businesses here,” Dave Agee of Curtin-Hebert Machines and AirJet Technologies told the students in the release. “We know there’s a lot of talent in this room.”

“We want to help mold the program that’s going to produce our future employees,” said John Millet of Bouchey & Clark in the release.

Shawn Czadzeck of Townsend Leather shared his enthusiasm for his own career and told the students he hopes to help them engage their passions. “We want to create a community of passionate people because it’s better when people are passionate about what they do,” he said in the release.

Attendees of the mixer included:

Ben Towne, Townsend Leather.

Shawn Czadzeck, Townsend Leather.

John Millet, Bouchey & Clark.

Tim Salls, Bouchey & Clark.

Gail Breen, Workforce Solutions.

Bethany Denno, Center for Economic Growth.

Carrie Armenio, Beech-Nut.

Patty Laux, NBT Bank.

David Agee, AirJet Technologies.

Mike Ladd, CISCO.

The PTECH students will return to their classrooms to officially begin their academic year on Sept. 4.

PTECH is a new model for high school education that includes college-level, credit-bearing coursework in the curriculum and allows students to choose their own “pathways” to high-skill jobs, the release said.