SkillsUSA peers from across New York voted Vincent Ruffolo to a state officer position, making him the fourth Dutchess BOCES Career and Technical Institute student elected to such a position since 1984.
“Skills is an amazing organization,” shared Ruffolo, a junior in the HVAC program. “It’s helped me become the best version of myself and encourages me to keep growing.”
Ruffolo was elected while at the New York State SkillsUSA Championships this April in Syracuse. SkillsUSA is a workforce development organization with the mission to “empower students to become skilled professionals, career-ready leaders and responsible community members.” Ruffolo attended alongside 20 classmates who competed in events relating to their trade. 
New this year, students ran to become at-large members instead of for a specific position. Ruffolo was one of 17 students running for office with only nine slots available.
As part of his campaign, Ruffolo gave a speech in front of his peers. “There were about 300 people. It was nerve-wracking, but once I got up there, I knew it was where I was meant to be,” he said about the experience.
“I talked about how I’m not looking to be a state officer because I want a title, but because I want to work hard to benefit other people,” he shared. “I want other people to see that they can be the best version of themselves, all they have to do is try. I want to inspire people as much as I was inspired by the other state officers.”
As an officer, Ruffolo will be part of virtual meetings as well as in-person meetings at various competitions and conferences.
In June, Ruffolo will attend the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, along with work based learning coordinator and SkillsUSA adviser Sharon Myers. Myers is one of the three previous students from Dutchess BOCES to serve as a state officer.
At Nationals, Ruffolo will first participate in Leverage, a leadership conference where participants learn leadership, teamwork, communication and job-specific skills that are part of the SkillsUSA Framework. Officers will apply these skills to delegate sessions where they vote on policies and national officers. Specific positions for the state officers will also be determined at Nationals.
“Being part of SkillsUSA is a great experience that I think everyone should have,” Ruffolo shared. He hopes that more people join SkillsUSA and that the organization continues to grow. 

TV & Film Students participate in Digital Cinema Competition 
Two seniors from TV & Film production, Karis Slaughter and Eamon Erdman, participated in the digital cinema production competition. Creating a short film in the genre of horror, the students created an original work entitled “The Wound of Willow Woods.”
“We decided to make a film where we go into the woods to complete a ritual that would grant any wish, but if you do it wrong, there is a dire consequence that our characters didn’t pay attention to,” shared Erdman. Slaughter added, “After the ritual, they find out they can feel each other’s pain, and there’s an attacker on the loose. One of the characters is attacked, and the other character, walking down another path, starts to feel it.”
Despite having a short time to write, shoot and edit the short film, Slaughter shared she is proud of what they put together, and enjoyed making new friends at the competition. “My favorite part was watching all of the short films at the competition. Everyone did such a good job. I was able to learn a lot about other participants in a short amount of time and we all have similar interests.” 
The students participated in individual interviews as part of the competition. “The judge gave us a lot of tips which furthered my knowledge of three-point lighting,” said Erdman. Slaughter shared, “He really liked our premise and our acting, which made me really happy because acting is my dream.”
 “What matters to me at the end of the day isn’t winning, but that we enjoyed making it and spending time with other students at the event,” Erdman shared. “Overall it was a really great experience.”