In high school, Max Fedrizzi (’20) found it very difficult to learn in a typical classroom. So, when his class had the opportunity to tour Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES, he was immediately drawn to the unique, hands-on learning approach.
“It was really cool to see all of the hands-on things and know that you don’t have to sit in a classroom all day,” Fedrizzi said. “You’re not at a desk. You’re up and moving, building stuff.”
Fedrizzi, who has always loved working with his hands, was torn between two programs: Machining and Welding, and Construction and Building Trades. He decided to enroll in Construction and Building Trades because of the versatility of the industry. In the program, students learn aspects of the entire building process, from foundation forming to interior finish.
Perhaps even more important than the hands-on training was the teamwork the program exposed him to. Fedrizzi recalled working on a garage and breezeway on Owasco Lake with his class before in-person learning was halted due to COVID. He credited instructor Tom Hayden for encouraging collaboration on projects.
“He was very class-oriented and always tried to bring everyone together,” Fedrizzi said of Hayden.
Fedrizzi also commended teacher assistant Mark Murray for his knowledge about the industry and support in the SkillsUSA program.
After graduating, Fedrizzi was able to explore his other interest, welding, at Alfred State College. He graduated with his associates degree, and has since continued working for Land Maintenance Systems, where he has been employed since high school.
Fedrizzi hopes to own a business in the future and will rely on the collaboration and leadership skills he learned at BOCES.
“Working with other people is probably the biggest thing I came out of here (BOCES) with,” he said. “The ability to lead a whole team has really helped me where I am right now. And I also learned how to work with other people. I wasn’t very good at that before I came to BOCES.”
Fedrizzi admitted he was a little afraid to try something outside of his comfort zone at first, but ultimately called his time at BOCES “life-changing.”
“No matter what you want to do, even if you don’t see yourself doing it in the future, just go pick something and do it for two years.”