Cheers and applause filled the MJ Nesheiwat Convention Center as families and friends celebrated 302 Career and Technical Institute seniors at Recognition Night June 12.
While students attend classes in 16 different trades, the strong community was evident throughout the night with hugs between teachers and students, cheers for classmates and smiles all around. 
Principal Nick Millas shared this year’s academic performance was among the best he’s seen in his career as an educator. “Many of our classes had a 100 percent pass rate on industry assessments and final exams. This is no easy feat when you consider the uniqueness of CTI.”
He said CTI is a melting pot where “we harness what makes each of our component schools great to develop our own culture,” adding, “as you get ready to move on, if there is anything we want you take away from this program, it is the importance of culture and the vital role each one of you will play in the cultures wherever your journey takes you.”
During the ceremony, Millas invited students, including members of SkillsUSA, Future Farmers of America and National Technical Honor Society to stand and be recognized for their unique achievements and future plans. Students involved in the Career Signing Day and Awards Breakfast were also recognized.
The $18,000 worth of awards given at the breakfast was more than double the year before. Millas thanked community stakeholders for “recognizing the value of career and technical education” and added, “Ten businesses as well as representatives from four branches of the military signed commitments to 23 of our students.”
Valedictorian Maia Dorfmann shared, “Coming to CTI changed how I experienced school completely. Learning about a specific skill… made me a better student,” she said, explaining that it ignited her passion for culinary arts.
Dorfmann shared three succinct takeaways she learned from her time at CTI for her classmates to keep in mind as they head out on their separate career paths. 

“You can’t wait for your calling to find you,” she shared, adding, “you have to put the time and energy into whatever it is you choose to do to make it a calling.” 

Next, Dorfmann explained that “the solutions to your problems might be right in front of you. We tend to overcomplicate things; when you’re too dialed into your problems, you can walk right past the solution. It takes perspective to see the answer.”
Finally, Dorfmann noted that the trades learned at CTI will always be needed.
“We’re the people who will get called when you need a car repair, or a leak fixed, or a wedding cake… I’m not worried about robots taking our jobs, because our character is part of the business endeavors we take on. If you go into any classroom, workshop, studio, or kitchen in this school, what you’ll see are different trades that require different tools, but character is what we all share and it seeps into the work we do.”

Salutatorian Ajeya Davis congratulated her classmates on getting to this point and spoke about the importance of not letting obstacles get in the way of dreams and goals.
Students are looking forward to joining the workforce, entering the military or furthering their education.

Automotive technology student Anthony Grossi, who sang the national anthem at the event, will soon be studying general automotive at Ohio Technical College. He says he will take what he’s learned at CTI with him.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. Coming to BOCES, I didn’t have a lot of automotive background, but now I will be making a career out of it,” Grossi shared. His advice for future students: “Don't be afraid to ask for help. Everyone here has the same goal - CTI is about coming together and forming relationships to help each other and lift each other up.”

Congratulations, Class of 2024!