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Kenmore East's Thomas Schell Earns Two Academies Certifications

A Kenmore East High School senior has achieved something impressive and pretty rare!

When Thomas Schell graduates later this month, he will do so with two different certifications from the Ken-Ton Academies, an advanced engineering & technology education program for students at our high schools. The school district doesn’t see a student receive two certifications very often. In fact, according to Ken-Ton Academies Coordinator Nancy Pray, she believes they’ve only had one other student accomplish the feat in the past ten years. 

“It takes focus to complete two certifications to ensure that you meet all the qualifications to obtain the accreditation,” Pray said.

The Ken-Ton Academy program currently has 100 students enrolled, with each pursuing one of four different certifications: pre-engineering, finance, information technology, and Cisco networking. By getting a certification from the Ken-Ton Academy program, it shows proof that you’ve completed the necessary requirements to meet NY State certification for the field you’re studying. That means a student can graduate from high school and go straight into the workforce without a college degree.

“Ken-Ton went through a very labor-heavy process to receive NY State approval for our rigorous programs,” Pray said. “We have state of the art technology in our programs that prepare students for the real world and opportunities in the finance and technology world.”

Thomas doesn’t plan on going to college, which is why he wanted to complete two different certifications (finance, information technology) to help boost his chances of getting a job. He says getting two certifications wasn’t that hard as most of his classes were fun and exciting.

“The Academies taught me the basics of most business and technology concepts and day-to-day life. It also showed me what happened in the real world relating to jobs and studies,” Schell said. “I hope to get a job in cybersecurity or a neighboring job, with the ability to have a background in accounting procedures.”

“David Stinner at USiTek has hired some of our students straight out of high school because they had the skills necessary to work in his high demand field of expertise,” Pray added. “I was just in a meeting with David recently and he said that he has a graduate from Ken-Ton who started when he was 18 and now is a very established employee in his company at the age of 25.”

Any student can join the Academies program, regardless of class standing. For more information on the program, click here.