If it wasn’t for BOCES, according to Lisa Vaccaro, she never would have ended up in the classroom or working with students involved in SkillsUSA, the national student leadership organization. Vaccaro is a teacher aide in the Computer Graphic Arts Program at Bixhorn Tech and has worked in various classrooms across the agency, including Adult Education, as a teacher.
Vaccaro began her career as a Cosmetology student at Nassau BOCES, and spent many years working as a colorist in the industry before taking a part-time job at ESBOCES as an aide in one of the Cosmetology rooms.
Once at ESBOCES, Vaccaro found her calling. “When I started working here, I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I was able to work in all the different rooms, not only cosmetology. I decided that instead of staying in a salon, I wanted to work with the students.” Vaccaro discovered that helping students pursue their career goals and watching them grow is extremely rewarding.
It wasn’t long before she became involved in the SkillsUSA organization in her building, helping to streamline paperwork, encourage student members to realize their potential, and attending regional and state competitions. Said Vaccaro, “When students join SkillsUSA, they learn their technique thoroughly. They learn to work with other students, how to speak to people, and what to expect in their particular industries after graduation.”
Each year Vaccaro encourages new students to join the organization to get the most out of their BOCES program. “We tell them it is a stepping stone for venturing off to college or going out into their fields of interest,” she said.
She also tells students to consider teaching CTE one day, pointing out that many ESBOCES graduates return to their alma mater as educators. “If it weren’t for BOCES,” Vaccaro said, “I never would have ended up in the tech center.”