CASSADAGA - Forty-one young men and women began the journey down their career paths after graduating from Cassadaga Job Corps Academy recently. The students trained for careers in healthcare or construction; some obtained a high school equivalency diploma while enrolled. It was a day to celebrate and reflect on what had been accomplished.
Career Development Director Robert Benjamin acted as master of ceremonies. Academy Director Ann Anderson delivered the opening remarks, thanking the graduates for their hard work and dedication and the families and friends for the support they have provided to this class. She reminded the graduates "for those who have been given much, much is expected".
Graduate Candice Harris read a speech about her career pathway. The graduates then were treated to a walk down memory lane Ken Dahlin's presentation, featuring the graduate's baby and childhood photos transitioning into their cap and gown photos.
Pictured above are some of the local residents who graduated from the Cassadaga Job Corps Academy. Left to right are: Crystal Schroeder (Falconer), Student Government President Danyelle Jackson, Nina Hanigan (Randolph), Jessie Cobb (Dunkirk) and Megan Campbell (Dunkirk).
Cassadaga Job Corps graduate Brenda Olmo from Fredonia celebrates her graduation with her husband, Fidel and their children.
Several awards and scholarships recognized top performing students. Sylvia Swan, social development director, recognized Danyelle Jackson as the student who best represented the career success standards, core values and was a constant role model in the Social Development Department. Brenda Olmo of Fredonia received the Career Transition Award from Workforce Development Director Vincent Trippi. Adam Dolce, business and community liaison, awarded Mike Flanagan the Community Improvement Award for outstanding volunteerism. He also received a letter of thanks from County Executive Vince Horrigan for service to the community. Richard Chase presented the Outstanding Citizen award to Yateko Downer for modeling positive behavior and mentoring others. Two awards were awarded by the Community Relations Council, one for top academic student and the other for top career technical training student. Jennifer Hazelton, academics manager, presented Yateko Downer with overall top student for academic achievement. Starling Franco was awarded the Best Overall CTT Award by Richard Orloff, Career Technical Training Manager.
Benjamin reminded the graduates that a person's outlook and attitude are important factors in life. He quoted Zig Ziglar, "your attitude will determine your altitude". He thanked all of those in attendance for joining the staff, students and graduates and concluded the ceremony by introducing the class and giving the order to toss the caps.
Job Corps provides training designed to ensure that students develop both technical ability and critical employability skills. All students attend on a federal scholarship pending their eligibility according to Job Corps guidelines. Most students reside on campus but local students may be considered for non-residential status. Visit cassadaga.jobcorps.gov or call Adam Dolce, business and community liaison, at 595-4237 for information about enrolling in the program or hiring its graduates.