Elizabeth Clancy

Elizabeth Clancy
  • Major: Early Childhood
  • High School: Oswego, class of ‘97

Elizabeth Clancy is on a mission. She’s a 39-year-old mother of three who is powering through Onondaga Community College on her way to an Early Childhood degree. “I started this journey 20 years ago and now I’m going to see it through,” she said.

Clancy graduated from Oswego High School in 1997 and that fall began taking classes at SUNY Oswego with the goal of becoming a teacher. A year-and-a-half later she withdrew. After getting married and starting a family Clancy took online classes for three years while majoring in Advertising.

The dream of becoming a teacher stayed with her. In 2017, she gave birth to a daughter and knew if she was ever going to become a teacher it was now or never. “In summer of 2018 I thought ‘you know what I’m going to do this. I want to get it done before my 1-year-old daughter is old enough for school. I want my children see me finish and complete something I started.’”

Clancy came to Onondaga Community College and dove in headfirst. During a five week summer session, she took 12 credits. “I knew I was going to push through this no matter what because I wanted to be here. I know where I want to go and what I want to end up with.”

Balancing the needs of her family with the needs of her education was a daily challenge. “My family comes first. I have to make it a priority to fit school in and be the best I can without sacrificing my role as a mom. Every night after dinner we would sit down as a family and say ‘what’s going on tomorrow? Who has to be here, who has to be there, who is driving who?’ It’s the same way with school. If I know I don’t have something due for two weeks, I’m going to do what’s due tomorrow first. It’s important to be aware, organized and wanting to do it. I’m good with my grades and it makes me want to do better.”

Clancy was so good with her grades that during the fall semester she was inducted into the College’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. “It felt amazing. I was always a good student in high school and college but I’d never gotten the recognition. Everything is always about the kids. When my son makes honor roll or my daughter starts walking. I was nervous but it was nice to be recognized!”

Clancy will earn her degree this summer, then pursue a position in a classroom. “I’d like to get a job in a school district for a year and find out what age students I enjoy working with. I don’t know exactly where I’m going to fit in but I hope I find it. It will push me to go back to college and finish my bachelors.”

We are the Champions… Again!

OCC's winning team in the New York Beef Council's Veal Culinary Tour and Competition (left to right): Chris Sheppard, Brandon Clary, Chef Deb Schneider, Alex Courgi and Lexi LaFountain.
OCC’s winning team in the New York Beef Council’s Veal Culinary Tour and Competition (left to right): Chris Sheppard, Brandon Clary, Chef Deb Schneider, Alex Courgi and Lexi LaFountain.

Somewhere an engraver is getting used to putting the words “Onondaga Community College” and “Champion” on cooking competition plaques. In November, four students enrolled in the Hospitality Management major traveled to Canandaigua and earned first place honors in the New York Beef Council’s Veal Culinary Tour and Competition. “We’re just really proud,” said OCC faculty member and Chef Deb Schneider. “It’s a great accomplishment for our students and our program.”

cropped-hospitality-management-winners-002Student teams from OCC’s Hospitality Management major have made a habit of winning these competitions. In each of the last three years during the month of May, students have earned first place honors in the Beef Farm Tour and Culinary Competition. Those were also held in Canandaigua.

Planning and preparation for this November’s competition began shortly after the start of the fall semester. Four students were selected to compete: Brandon Clary (Oswego H.S.), Alex Courgi (Fayetteville-Manlius (H.S.), Lexi LaFountain (Town of Webb H.S. in Old Forge) and Chris Sheppard (Corcoran H.S.).

College teams would be required to make veal schnitzel sliders while using only six ingredients. There were limits to which items could be used, also known as the “market basket.” “We got around it by making our own,” said Schneider. “Instead of taking sauerkraut out of a can we made our own and added caraway to it to give it more flavor. We made our own mustard and added beer to it which was part of the recipe.” The sauerkraut and beer each took four weeks to make. Students also made slider rolls.

In the months leading up to the competition students gathered regularly to practice making their recipes. “We worked on this every Monday for the past two months to make it really good,” said LaFountain. “Through our practice we’d done this enough times so we knew what we were doing,” added Clary.

By the time the competition began OCC’s team was ready. They were competing against five other colleges: Alfred State, SUNY Cobleskill, Erie Community College, Finger Lakes Community College and Morrisville State College. OCC won first place! “It was really fun… It was a very exciting experience for all of us,” said Shepard. OCC’s team was presented with a check for $2,000 which was split evenly between the four students.

The event also included lectures, presentations and tours of a veal producer and Noblehurst Farms, a dairy farm in western New York. It was quite an experience for students like Courgi. “I had never been on a dairy farm. It was very interesting to see the whole process and how things work.”

Congratulations to OCC’s team! You can watch a video produced by the New York Beef Council here.

OCC's team poses for a photo with the ceremonial check after earning first place honors.
OCC’s team poses for a photo with the ceremonial check after earning first place honors.