Lenny Speregen introduced students to a professional diving program at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island — the only program of its kind in the nation. Arlyn Kelly pioneered the nursing program at William E. Grady Career and Technical HS in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Grace Giardina instituted digital single-lens reflex photography at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Long Island City, Queens.
These were just a few of the dozens of honorees at the 2017 Career and Technical Education Awards Recognition Ceremony on March 13 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where nearly 350 educators, students, UFT and city Department of Education representatives, and industry partners celebrated the program that teaches 21st-century skills and prepares students for successful careers.
In welcoming remarks, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said CTE, which already has more than 63,000 full-time students in 276 programs in 120 schools, is “about to expand in a way we have always hoped for.” He thanked those in Shanker Hall for “making sure New York City has always had a vibrant CTE program in every borough.”
Janella Hinds, the UFT vice president for academic high schools, served as master of ceremonies, filling in for Sterling Roberson, the vice president for career and technical education, who could not attend due to a death in his family. “We work very closely together because we know how important it is to integrate the academic side and the CTE side,” Hinds said.
The Success Via Apprenticeship program — a rigorous teacher-training program in which a small group of CTE graduates attend college classes while simultaneously apprenticing in classrooms and industry — contributed to the success of several of the evening’s honorees.
Damiano Mastrandrea, the 2016 Outstanding SVA Program Graduate who now teaches at Chelsea CTE HS in Manhattan, received the Edwin Espalliat Award, named for an SVA founder. “The SVA program is the most comprehensive and effective teacher preparation program for CTE teachers in the country,” Mastrandrea said, adding that his industry experiences, including work at the Smithsonian Institute, validated his training and knowledge. Mastrandrea says he doesn’t have “a single regret.”
Two of the evening’s Outstanding Educator honorees now teach at their alma maters thanks to the SVA program.
Rosa Chavez, who teaches at Manhattan’s HS of Fashion Industries, created a study abroad program in Italy that allows participants to earn college credit. She reminds students, “I walked the same halls, I sat in the same chairs, I had the same troubles. If I could do the things I’ve done, then you can do even more.”
Now-retired teacher Sandra Manning, who attended the ceremony, said she encouraged Chavez as a student to apply for SVA. “Rosa had a burning love for fashion,” Manning recalled. “If other students couldn’t understand what I was teaching, she knew how to translate the craft and break it down for them.”
The two women went on to become colleagues when Chavez returned to the HS of Fashion Industries as a teacher.
Miguel Sierra, the other Outstanding Educator honoree, teaches auto mechanics at Thomas Edison CTE HS in Jamaica, Queens, which provided the ceremony’s student hosts.
A trained technician before entering SVA, Sierra said the program enabled him to be “confident not just about the automobile but about how to get information to students.”
Some of Sierra’s former teachers are now colleagues, including one who nominated Sierra for his award and “is still teaching me,” he said.
Sierra encourages his students to apply for SVA like he did and become a teacher.
“It’s not just automotive you’re teaching,” he says. “It’s life skills, and hopefully you’re having a little bit of impact on society.”