College Signing Day

Students at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central celebrate signing to attend Onondaga Community College as part of the P-Tech program.
Students at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central celebrate their entry into OCC’s P-Tech program.

Monday was “College Signing Day” in the Syracuse City School District. Students at each of the five city high schools had the opportunity to sign with the college of their choice and put a handmade sign on the wall indicating which college they would be attending. Onondaga Community College played a significant role in the festivities with representatives at each of the schools.

Rahmeek Ford (center) is welcomed into the P-Tech program by OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill (left) and Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras (right).
Rahmeek Ford (center) is welcomed into the P-Tech program by OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill (left) and Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras (right).

The biggest celebration was reserved for the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central where college will be starting early for 39 sophomores. These students are part of the “P-Tech” program which stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program is a collaboration between the Syracuse City School District and OCC which helps high school students earn valuable credits toward an associate degree while partnering with industry leaders. These students will come to the OCC campus twice a week for classes during their junior year of high school and three times a week during their senior year.

Quintin Shanes will pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.
Quintin Shanes will pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.

During the signing ceremony Syracuse Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill told students about their shared vision for the program. “Dr Crabill and I met three years ago and discussed how to make college affordable for every single student. We asked, ‘How do we get more women into sciences and engineering? How do we make sure underrepresented students have the opportunity to go into college and to go into fields that result in high paying jobs,’” said Contreras. “We did a lot of thinking about all of you back before you were thinking about coming into our program because we wanted to make sure the program we put together would give you the opportunity to excel,” said Dr. Crabill. “We’re very excited to welcome you to campus. I look forward to the day when I can give you your degrees on the stage at the SRC Arena.”

Following the remarks each student was given a certificate which included his or her name and chosen degree path of either Electrical Engineering Technology or Mechanical Technology. Students also posed for photos with Contreras and Crabill.

Student Quintin Shanes will be pursuing an Electrical Engineering Technology degree in the P-Tech program. His love of math, science and technology started in the home. Shanes’ father is an electrical engineer. “It’s like a free two years where you don’t have to worry about college debt. If my dad was my age right now he would definitely take advantage of this.”

All costs associated with the P-Tech program including tuition, books and fees are covered by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

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Advocating for OCC

Student members of OCC’s Politics Club participated in the political process when they joined College President Dr. Casey Crabill and Associate Vice President of Government Relations Susan Tormey on a tour of local State Senate and Assembly representatives.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe (left) meets with OCC students Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.
Assemblyman Al Stirpe (left) meets with OCC students Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe and OCC President Dr. Casey Crabill.

The contingent presented OCC’s 2015 Legislative Priorities to lawmakers at the offices of Senator John DeFrancisco (R, 50th District), Senator Dave Valesky (D, 53rd District), Assemblyman William Magnarelli (D, 129th District) and Assemblyman Al Stirpe (D, 127th District).

Politics Club members Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe and Daniel Quackenbush used the opportunity to tell each lawmaker about their experiences at OCC. They were selected to participate by Political Science Professor Chris Thuot, Ph.D.

Assemblyman William Magnarelli (center) meets with OCC representatives (left to right) Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe, Dan Quackenbush and President Dr. Casey Crabill.
Assemblyman William Magnarelli (center) is joined in his office by OCC representatives (left to right) Amanda Guereschi, Jonathan Rowe, Dan Quackenbush and President Dr. Casey Crabill.

Guereschi is a graduate of Chittenango High School and a Humanities major with minors in Honors and Women’s Studies. “It was a great experience to see democracy in action and a wonderful opportunity to show support for a college that means so much to me. It was also great to see and hear our representatives express their interest in OCC student’s success,” said Guereschi.

Rowe came to OCC from Horseheads High School and is an Electronic Media Communications major. “It was an honor to speak with each Senator and Assemblyman. The conversations were very positive,” said Rowe.

State Senator John DeFrancisco (sitting) spends time with OCC representatives (left to right) Dr. Casey Crabill and students Jonathan Rowe, Amanda Guereschi and Dan Quackenbush.
State Senator John DeFrancisco (sitting) spends time with OCC representatives (left to right) Dr. Casey Crabill and students Jonathan Rowe, Amanda Guereschi and Dan Quackenbush.

During the day of advocating OCC representatives also visited the office of Judge Martha Mulroy. She’s the daughter of John Mulroy, Onondaga County’s first County Executive and a man credited with being OCC’s founding father. “Judge Mulroy gave us great advice on the political process and how to run for office,” said Quackenbush.  “Visiting her and all of the legislators was a very inspirational experience.”