Community Support on Full Display at BOCES Car Show
If you listened close enough, muffled between the roar of rumbling car engines and classic rock music, you could hear the sound of a community coming back together.
On Sunday, dozens of classic cars, antique trucks and souped-up hot rods paraded through the parking lot on Warren Road, just like they had done for the past 28 years, to support the Career and Technical Education students at TST BOCES. Something community members and long-time supporters of the annual CTE car show have waited more than a year to do.
Donald Brewer, a Chenango County resident, parked his 1979 Dodge Power Wagon, named Gray Ghost, under the shade of a tree before making his rounds to greet old friends.
“It feels great to be out here again to show our support for the kids and all the amazing things the school does for them,” said Brewer. “After the last year, I realized how much I lean on this group and how important having this car show is for everyone in the community.”
Last year, in its twenty-seventh run, BOCES had to cancel the in-person car show and instead hosted a virtual event for people who wanted to submit photos of their vehicles online.
The proceeds of the car show go toward supporting students who qualify to compete in the SkillsUSA competition. Funds raised can be applied toward entry fees, accommodations and other expenses that would otherwise fall on the burden of the student.
Earlier this year, three BOCES students won second place in various categories beating out more than 600 contestants at the 2021 SkillsUSA competition.
“We host the car show for the students who benefit from all the activities that the proceeds go toward,” said Kevin Casler, Principal of CTE. “But really, it’s far deeper than that.”
Casler’s Sunday was filled with a barrage of gratitude and appreciation from long-time supporters of the car show.
“Hearing from retired staff members who came out to support the event because they saw with their own eyes what it does for the students gave me a shot in the arm of good vibes that I have not had since the pandemic began,” said Casler.
Between the showers of sunshine and the warm, boisterous banter of old friends, guests and attendees of the BOCES car show were temporarily transported into another time. For some, the event symbolized the importance of tradition and togetherness. For others, it was a tangible shift toward normalcy.
Casler says there is one trait that all guests had in common: their unwavering support for the CTE programs at TST BOCES.
“My heartfelt gratitude and appreciation goes out to every participant, student volunteer and the key staff members that gave their personal time on a Sunday to make this event happen,” said Casler. “This is what makes me proud to be a part of this community.”
Next year, the tradition continues, the third Sunday in May.