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Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

Culinary team at Batavia CTE Center creates pie for NASA that's out of this world

By Press Release


Above: the Culinary Arts team -- from left Alexa Wolcott, Isaiah Merrell and Sara Logsdon -- answers questions from the judges.

Submitted photos and press release:

In mid-March, three Culinary Arts students from the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center participated in the national NASA HUNCH* Culinary Challenge.

According to the judges’ feedback, Isaiah Merrell, Alexa Wolcott, and Sara Logsdon hit a home run with their creation called "Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie"! Isaiah is a senior from Byron-Bergen High School, and Alexa and Sara are both juniors from Pavilion High School.

During the Challenge, this team prepped, prepared and served their recipe to a panel of judges, who scored their recipe based upon taste, texture, aroma and appearance. The scores from the competition were sent to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and will be scored against 26 teams from around the United States.

The teams with the top 10 scores move onto the final round of the competition which will be held in the spring at NASA in Houston. If chosen, their recipe could be sent to the International Space Station for astronauts to enjoy. 

Chef Tracy Burgio is the Culinary Arts instructor at the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Campus. She shared how this team of students collaborated and were persistent in creating their recipe.

“This was a process of trial, error, reformulating and much tasting! Isaiah, Alexa, and Sara were determined to make this recipe the absolute best it could be," Burgio said. "They did an amazing job preparing, cooking and presenting their recipe. I’m so very proud of all their efforts."

The panel of judges asked many questions of the team, which the students answered confidently. Isaiah shared how the team arrived at their recipe.

“We were given the food category and guidelines from NASA HUNCH," Isaiah said. "We brainstormed and came up with the idea of Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie."

The recipe process took weeks to perfect.

“I can’t even count how many times we made this recipe and changed ingredients," Isaiah added. "Even the day before this judging, we added two other ingredients to boost the flavor."

When asked about why some of the ingredients were used, Culinary Challenge team member Sara explained.

“The theme this year is comfort foods and we interpreted this recipe to have subtle flavors, but we did add garlic!” Sara said.

She also noted that only certain ingredients could be used in the recipe due to the recipe’s need to be processed and packaged for space travel and for astronaut consumption onboard the International Space Station.

Overall, the judges’ feedback was positive. 

Pauly Guglielmo, the owner of Guglielmo’s Sauce, a food development company, was one of the judges. Over the last few years, Guglielmo’s company has launched a number of new products.

“It’s very difficult to work with these nutritional restraints set by NASA -- I understand!” he told the students.

Jon Sanfratello is the Executive Principal of the GV BOCES Batavia Campus. He noted how this program provides new and unique learning opportunities for the participating students. 

“The students participating in this challenge had a great opportunity to learn about NASA, what astronauts can eat in space, why recipes need to be made a certain way, as well as, all of the nutritional values that need to be tracked while living on the International Space Station," Sanfratello said.

"Over the years, NASA has been a great partner with our programs and has provided many students many learning opportunities.”

The list of judges included: Bill Hayes, Turnbull HVAC; Tom Turnbull, president, Genesee Chamber of Commerce; Eve Hens, Genesee County; Jorden Strapp, GV BOCES; Ann Valento, GCC; Pauly Guglielmo, Guglielmo Sauce; Denise Newman, Artesano Bakery Manager, Rochester Institute of Technology; Christine Grout, senior development officer, St. Ann's Community; Maggie Poray, GV BOCES; Chef Jason Ball, Main Street Pizza Co.

*NASA HUNCH (High schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) was founded as a means of giving high school students new educational experiences by producing many needed elements for the International Space Station. The NASA Culinary HUNCH program gives high school students the opportunity to develop food items for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Each year a new theme is developed. Students create new dishes considering food processing procedures and nutritional requirements in order to meet the standards of the NASA Johnson Space Center Food Lab.


Recipe for Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (photo above)

Yield: 1 Serving

Calories: 329

Total Fat: 10.1 Grams Saturated Fat: 0.6 Grams Sodium: 163 Grams

Dietary Fibers: 7.1 Grams Sugar: 6.1 Grams


  • 1/2 lb. Sweet Potato
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Onion
  • 1/4 lb. Ground Turkey Meat
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Oregano
  • 1/8 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/4 cup Frozen Corn
  • 1/4 cup Carrots
  • 3/4 tsp. Fresh Basil
  • 3/4 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Turkey Broth
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. Butter


Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2 - Place sweet potatoes in a large pot with boiling water. Cook the potatoes until tender.

Step 3 - Drain the potatoes and mash. Season with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Step 4 - Heat oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Mix in the onions and sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes. Then add garlic and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Step 5 - Add ground turkey and water, crumbling the turkey into small pieces. Cook until all meat is brown.

Step 6 - Stir in tomato paste, carrots, peas, corn, chicken broth, fresh basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow liquid to reduce.

Step 7 - Spread mixture into cast-iron skillets. Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Put in the oven.

Step 8 - Bake for 10-15 Minutes.

Step 9 - Place in a broiler to crisp up the sweet potatoes for 1-2 minutes.

Step 10 - Garnish with thyme and serve.

Photo below: Culinary Challenge judge Pauly Guglielmo, owner of Guglielmo Sauce, rates the students’ culinary creation. 


About the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

It is a program of the Genesee Valley BOCES. GV BOCES operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State.

'Coach Swaz' is part of a team preparing students for trades to meet local job demands

By Press Release

From Chris Suozzi (inset photo left), vice president of Business and Workforce Development at the Genesee County Economic Development Center:

"Coach Swaz." That’s how a lot of people know me, even in economic development circles.

A great team, like the Buffalo Bills and all of our partners at the Genesee County Economic Development Center, is built on talented players and motivated coaches. Building on our economic growth in Genesee County is achieved through teamwork.

For our youth, that coaching can build connections to careers that put them in a position where they can succeed quickly by tapping into their talents and passion. Through Genesee FAST (Food processing, Advanced manufacturing, Skilled trades, and Technician) we can mentor, educate and train our youth for career opportunities with companies across the GLOW region. This allows us to move fast in helping companies with the job demands in their respective workplaces.

I want to reference a couple of examples of how this is being demonstrated. Graham Corporation recently purchased and installed a new welding simulator for the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center’s Metal Trades Program at Genesee Valley BOCES. It is a great example of how our growing companies are building connections with students in preparing the next generation of skilled welders. I applaud Graham Corporation’s vision and support of Genesee Valley BOCES.

Andrew Geyer’s welding students at the Batavia CTE are currently training on real world scenarios and are encouraged to get even more involved with youth apprenticeships. By taking the appropriate courses, participating in relevant activities and focusing on developing their skills we are providing students the playbook for success.

In 2019, more than 1,000 students, educators and guests participated in a single-day event at the Genesee County Fairgrounds – GLOW With Your Hands. In my role as cochair of GLOW With Your Hands along with GLOW Workforce Development Board Executive Director Jay Lazarony, we knew our entire volunteer team had to make a dramatic pivot for 2020 because of the pandemic. And we achieved success by going virtual.

Providing students with hands-on opportunities at the GLOW With Your Hands event last year was extremely impactful. Providing that same experience this year seemed like a monumental task, but we are reaching even more kids than last year making deeper connections with the launch of

Karyn Winters, the director of the Genesee County Business Education Alliance, and Angela Grouse, director of education to employment initiatives for the Livingston County Area Chamber of Commerce, are leading all of our volunteers across the GLOW region in this effort. They once again enlisted companies to turn a hands-on event into an on-demand platform for our students to pursue great career opportunities.

GLOW With Your Hands Virtual demonstrates the career pathways that our students can take in securing family sustaining jobs and, more importantly, remaining part of our community by staying here and raising their own families.

I encourage everyone who wants to see Genesee County continue to grow and prosper by putting our kids in a position to win, to please visit the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website and start discussing these careers with our youth. You can be a great coach.

Coach Swaz’s Career of the Month: Welding

There are dozens of careers that we are encouraging parents to share with kids in middle school and high school using the GLOW With Your Hands Virtual website. This month, I recommend warming up with the welding profile and seeing how welder-fabricators succeed.

Below is a YouTube video about welders and welding at Oxbo International Corp. in Byron, courtesy of the GCEDC.

Diesel mechanics students tackle fire truck engine overhaul for program's first project

By Billie Owens


In photo from left, Diesel Mechanics students Michael Pfenninger, Holden Brinkman, Scott Thurley, Johnny Murray, and Jake Long with Diesel Mechanics instructor Walter Holmes and fire truck owner Kevin Sikorski.

Submitted photo and press release:

What weighs 15,000 pounds, is 32 feet long, bright red and 25 years old? The 1993 Spartan pumper fire truck that was recently overhauled by students in the Diesel Mechanics Program at the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center.

The Diesel Mechanics Program at the Batavia CTE Center began in September. This fire truck's engine was completely overhauled for the first project completed by the students and instructor in the new program.

Kevin Sikorski owns the fire truck, which he purchased from the Sheldon Fire Department more than two years ago. Sikorski lives in Alexander and considers himself a collector.

“I’m not a firefighter but I like fire trucks," Sikorski said. "Some people buy classic cars, I buy fire trucks. This is my hobby. But this is the only firetruck that I own for now."

He contacted Walter Holmes, the instructor of the Diesel Mechanics Program, when he learned that the program would be starting this school year.

“The engine needed a total overhaul and I thought this would be a great project for the students," Sikorski said. "It’s a win-win, I get the truck repaired and the students learn lessons."

The truck needed extensive engine repair that included routine and preventive maintenance. But despite this long list of much-needed work, Holmes and his students were not intimidated.

“This was a three-month project,” Holmes said. “We adjusted the air brakes, and lights, changed the oil, engine fluids, and air hoses, all the filters and adjusted the valves.

"The students rebuilt the carburetor, replaced the battery terminals, checked the suspension and drive train. We made sure the truck was ready for a New York State inspection. I could go on and on; the list is very long that describes this work.”

(Diesel engines do not have carburetors, but fire trucks have a gas generator, which does have a carburetor, on top of the tanker unit, Holmes explained. The truck uses the generator to power up the floodlights and other accessories for the truck.)

Michael Pfenninger, a junior from Pembroke Central Schools, is a student in the Diesel Mechanics Program and he worked on the fire truck. 

“My Dad and I work on a farm and we service the trucks and farm equipment," Michael said. "This program is a great help to me because I’m learning things that I can use in my work.

"I really like coming to school here. This truck project really helped me to understand diesel engines, I worked on adjusting the engine valves and also worked on the air brakes.”

Holmes noted how a project like this provides real-world experience for students.

“In class, I taught the theory of how a diesel engine works and why and how all the parts work together," Holmes said. "In the shop, we put that theory to work. But the main thing that I teach my students is the importance of good customer relations.

"If a customer is happy with your work and how they were treated, then they will come back to you. Being honest and reliable is just as important as the work.” 

The Diesel Mechanics Program is offered at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center. For more information about this or any other career and technical education program, please call (585) 344-7711 or visit the website at 

About CTE

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and serves 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and parts of Steuben counties in New York State.

CTE awards 25 scholarships, recognizes 309 seniors' achievements at awards program

By Billie Owens


Photo: Hannah Pierson (right), Culinary Arts student from Le Roy CS, accepts the Rochester American Culinary Federation Scholarship and Chef Russell Bugbee Memorial Award from Chef Tracy Burgio, Culinary Arts instructor at the Batavia CTE Center. 

Submitted photo and press release:

Batavia, New York, June 25 – The Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center recently celebrated the achievements of 309 seniors at an awards program earlier this month at Le Roy High School. During this ceremony, 25 scholarship awards were presented.

The scholarship winners, their programs and home schools are noted below.

Student of the Year (a.m.): Casey Shaw, Pembroke CSD, Health Dimensions

Student of the Year (p.m.): Zachary Boneberg, Le Roy CSD, Criminal Justice

Blakeslee Award: Christian Bradt, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Building Trades

Donald Abramo Jr. Memorial Award: Vanessa Horseman, Batavia CSD, Metal Trades; Garrett Sando, Byron-Bergen CSD, Metal Trades

Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship: Matthew Kurowski, Attica CSD, Metal Trades

Master Manufacturing Scholarship: Matthew Kurowski, Attica CSD, Metal Trades

James P. Donnelly Memorial Award: Bradly Arnold, Oakfield-Alabama CSD, Building Trades; Cameron Brumsted, Byron-Bergen CSD, Building Trades

Paul Levin’s Memorial Award: Ethan Conrad, Notre Dame -- Batavia, Building Trades

Batavia Rod & Gun Club Memorial Scholarship: Brandon Lewis, Byron-Bergen CSD, Building Trades

Roy H. Turnbull Memorial Scholarship Award: Kyler Chambry, Byron-Bergen CSD, Building Trades

Ignatius J. Radesi Memorial Award: Benjamin Lathan, Byron-Bergen CSD, Building Trades

Pullinzi Family Scholarship: Christopher Decker, Attica CSD, Building Trades

Building Trades Alumni Award: Joseph Aguglia, Attica CSD, Building Trades

Homeowner Award: Chandler Bow, Byron-Bergen CSD, Building Trades

Jason H. Rowcliffe Memorial Scholarship: Timothy Herter, Attica CSD, Culinary Arts

Chef Russell Bugbee Memorial Award: Hannah Pierson, Le Roy CSD, Culinary Arts

Rochester American Culinary Federation Scholarship: Hannah Pierson, Le Roy CSD, Culinary Arts

Josh Mouery Memorial Award: Danny Pernesky, Le Roy CSD, Culinary Arts

B.J. Mancuso Memorial Award: Taylor Almeter, Attica CSD, Cosmetology

Batavia Rotary Club Memorial Fund Scholarship: Rachel Tebor, Pembroke CSD, Cosmetology

Dr. Charles Holowach Memorial Scholarship: Kim Davis, Pavilion CSD, Health Careers Academy; Paige Perry, Attica CSD, Health Careers Academy; Ethan Hutchins, Notre Dame Batavia, Health Careers Academy.


The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State. 

Graduate of Metal Trades Program at Batavia Career and Tech Ed Center awarded $5,500

By Billie Owens


Kevin Adair, AWS Section chairman (right), presents the award to Aaron Buckland.

Press release:

The Rochester Section of the American Welding Society (AWS) recently presented Aaron Buckland with a $5,000 scholarship that he can apply to the welding technical school or college of his choice. He also received an additional $500 cash award toward equipment or supplies for school.

Aaron plans to attend the Commercial Diving Academy in Florida to train as an underwater welder/diver.

Aaron is a recent graduate of the Metal Trades Program at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center. Don Shuknecht was Aaron’s instructor. 

“Aaron is a fine example of a student who is committed to achieving his absolute best," said Shuknecht, a Metal Trades instructor. "His positive attitude and spirit provides him with a drive to achieve. I know that he will be successful in whatever he attempts."

Aaron is also a member of the NYS SkillsUSA Fabrication Team that will be competing in the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Ky., later this month.


The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a school that is part of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State. 

Batavia Career and Tech Education Center students attend conference on health occupations

By Billie Owens


Submitted photo. Front row, from left: Kaitlin Laird, Nina Searchfield, Rebecca Reamer, Jaclyne Passage, Victoria Welka, Zoe Falsone, and Kayle MacIntyre. Back row, from left: Samantha Siple, Ashley Brady, Ashley Chapman, Nicholas Lathrop, and Stephen Gass.

Press release:

Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center students attended the New York State Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Spring Leadership Conference in Liverpool, New York on April 13-15.

Zoë Falsone (Attica) and Jaclyne Passage (Le Roy) completed their 2015-2016 terms as senior vice president, parliamentarian and Region E vice president for New York State HOSA. Zoë participated in two events, Job Seeking Skills and Home Health Aid, and earned a Bronze Medal in Home Health Aid.  

Jaclyne participated in Job Seeking Skills where she earned a Silver Medal. She also presented with Rebecca Reamer (Pavilion) in the Medical Innovations event and was awarded a Silver Medal. Their topic was Human Head Transplant. In preparation for this event, Jaclyne and Rebecca worked with the Batavia CTE Computer Information Systems (CIS) students and Maggie Poray, CIS instructor, to design and create 3-D head models to use during their presentation.

Rebecca Reamer and Ashley Chapman (Caledonia-Mumford) chose Medical Photography Rebecca focused on dentistry pictures and Ashley focused on Emergency Medical Services utilizing friends and family from her local fire department.  Ashley took the Health Issues Exam, and qualified for national competition.

Samantha Siple (Caledonia-Mumford) participated in Home Health Aid and Job Seeking Skills and earned leadership skills.

Nina Searchfield (Caledonia-Mumford) received a silver medal in Nurse Assisting. Nina also presented with her partner Ashley Brady (Attica) in Health Careers Display. Their topic of choice was midwifery. Previous to the competition, these two students spent time at United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on the maternity floor during their clinical rotations through the Health Dimensions program. 

Victoria Welka (Byron-Bergen) and Kaylee McIntyre chose to show their artistic skills in Extemporaneous Health Poster. Kaylee earned a Bronze Medal for her artistic creation. She also created a chapter poster, which earned the New York State HOSA Chapter poster winner for 2016. Kaylee was chosen as the New York State HOSA 2016-2017 Region E vice president.

Kaitlin Laird (Batavia) competed in the Extemporaneous Writing event. She campaigned for a position as a New York HOSA State Officer, was elected and will serve as the senior vice president for the 2016-2017 term.

Stephen Gass (Pembroke) and Nicholas Lathrop (Attica) both performed well in the Personal Care category. Nicholas earned two Gold Medals in both Interviewing Skills and Speaking Skills. His topic was Innovate, Inspire, and Ignite. Nicholas was so stunned that he received two Gold Medals that his classmates needed to repeat that he had won first place again. Stephen looked at Bonny Shelby, his instructor, and said, “This makes me realize I can do anything!”

Three students, Nina Searchfield, Zoë Falsone and Kaitlin Laird, earned achievement awards at the conference. The Batavia CTE Center HOSA Chapter won the T-shirt and trading pin design contest for 2016. The submission was used for T-shirts that were provided to all participants at the Spring Leadership Conference. The design was made into a trading pin that will be distributed in June at the National Leadership Conference.

Zoë Falsone, Ashley Chapman, Jaclyne Passage, Kaylee MacIntyre, Nina Searchfield, Rebecca Reamer, Nicholas Lathrop, Stephen Gass, and Ashley Brady are eligible for participation at the HOSA National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in June.

Four students from the Batavia CTE Center have been inducted as the New York State HOSA Officers. Rebecca Reamer -- President; Kaitlin Laird -- Senior Vice President; Kaylee Mac Intyre -- Secretary; Victoria Welka -- Region E Vice President. These four young women will attend the officer Summer Leadership Academy in Albany in June.

Four students from the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership Adult Education LPN/CNA Program also attended the conference and participated in the Knowledge Tests. Jessica Newton won a gold medal in Human Growth and Development; Aimee Donohue received a Silver Medal in the Behavioral Health; Leanne King won a Silver Medal in Medical Law and Ethics and a Bronze Medal in Pathophysiology.

The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services offering shared programs and services to 22 component school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties in New York State. 

Open House Nov. 5 at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Crime scene analysis, 3-D printing processes, welding applications, animal care methods, and the newest cosmetology trends are just a few of the practices students learn at the Batavia Career and Technical Education Center (CTE). The Batavia CTE Center will hold an Open House from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5.

Students, parents and community members are invited to tour the center and discover the many skilled trades opportunities available at this facility. This event is open to the public. The Batavia CTE Center is located at 8250 State Street Road, Batavia. Please call (585) 344-7711 with any questions.


The Batavia Career and Technical Education Center is a program of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. The Partnership operates as a Board of Cooperative Educational Services providing shared programs and services to 22 component New York State school districts located in Genesee, Wyoming, Livingston and Steuben counties.

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