Villatoro named Student of the Year

- Javier Villatoro

— Photo by Mike McCagg of BOCES

Graduates of the Capital Region BOCES High School Equivalency Program or BOCES’ English As A New Language Program hail from countries as diverse as Myanmar, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ecuador, and Congo.

BETHLEHEM — Javier Villatoro of Delmar has been named Student of the Year by the New York Association for Continuing and Community Education.

Villatoro, who emigrated from Honduras, recently completed the English as a Second Language program at BOCES and is currently enrolled in the High School Equivalency program. Both Capital Region BOCES courses are offered for free.

He received the honor on Oct. 8 during a ceremony at The Century House Hotel in Latham.

“Learning English was important to me because I want to get my high school diploma and, mainly, improve my English,” said Villatoro, in a release from BOCES. “Learning English is hard. I am an adult. I have so many responsibilities. I have a family and so much stuff to take care of. Going to school at the end of the day is a big commitment, but it has been good.”

While married with a 2-year-old daughter, Villatoro works full-time at Hooked Seafood Market in Latham and attends classes at BOCES. He is also a member of a regional soccer club.

Villatoro, who first lived in California, said, “For me to be around people from different countries around the world like I am in BOCES is unbelievable. I didn’t see that in California. When I took classes there, if you were from Latin America you were with them. Asians went to school someplace else. Being around people from so many countries here is great,” he said.

Villatoro was nominated for the award by BOCES teacher Octavio Lo Piccolo who said, “He is a unique person who has overcome high obstacles to reach his goals. Javier is intelligent, driven, persistent, and reliable. ... He is from Honduras, attended school up to 9th grade when he could not continue anymore because he had to support his family. He came to the USA when he was 14,” Lo Piccollo said.

“His dream in the USA is to become a U.S. citizen and own his own restaurant. I think he will succeed because he is motivated, honest, friendly, charismatic, willing to learn and to sacrifice and work hard,” Lo Piccollo said.

Villatoro, in turn, praised his teacher.

“Octavio has been a huge support for me and a person I see [as a role model] for my future. He did the same thing I tried to do by emigrating here. He is an amazing teacher, an amazing person,” he said.

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More Student Kudos

  • These local students were named to the fall 2021 dean's list at Clarkson University, comprised of students with a grade-point average of 3.25 or higher:
     

    — Brian Tyler Chew of Schenectady, a senior majoring in environmental engineering;

  • These local students were named to the president’s list from Siena College for the fall 2021 semester with a grade point average of 3.9 or higher:
     

    — Alexa Anastasi of Delmar;

    — Nicole Anzalone of Schenectady;

    — Meghan Brewer of Altamont;

  • These local students were named to the dean’s list or received a similar honor from their college or university for the fall 2021 semester:
     

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