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Lakeland’s Amari Hughes Honored As 'Student Of Distinction'

From left: BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan, Letitia Hughes, Amari Hughes, BOCES Board member Tina Mackay and Tech Center Principal James Bellucci show off Hughes' awards after a Lakeland Board of Education meeting.
From left: BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan, Letitia Hughes, Amari Hughes, BOCES Board member Tina Mackay and Tech Center Principal James Bellucci show off Hughes' awards after a Lakeland Board of Education meeting. Photo Credit: Contributed

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A Yorktown teen who turned a passion for video games into a potential career in computer technology has been hailed by local educators.

Amari Hughes, a senior at Lakeland High School, took that love of gadgets and applied it to the Micro Computer Technology program at PNW BOCES’ Tech Center.

As a result of all his hard work and dedication, Hughes was named a “Student of Distinction” at a Lakeland Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19.

As a result of his hard work and dedication, the high school senior was recognized as a BOCES Student of Distinction at a Lakeland Board of Education meeting on January 19.

Family members, BOCES administrators and BOCES Board members, gathered to watch Tech Center Principal James Bellucci and BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan present Hughes with a Certificate of Recognition and Medal of Honor.

Tech Center teacher Joseph DeCicco said the A student, who is known for his work ethic, was a natural choice for the honor.

“Every time Amari comes to class he goes all out and gives it his best effort,” DeCicco said.

DeCicco added that Hughes often goes above and beyond to help fellow students.

“I could tell that Amari had studied computer technology outside of the classroom when he was helping his fellow students with technology-based questions on material we hadn’t even covered in class yet,” DeCicco said.

Hughes says the BOCES’ program has helped prepare him for a career after high school.

He thanked DeCicco for giving him advice that will last “a lifetime.”

“He explains a lot of things -- things that can and cannot work when you’re in the computer science field,” Hughes said. “I’m always thinking about the things he has said and I take them into consideration. I’ll use that throughout my career.”

Hughes’ mother, Letitia, was excited to see her son accept his award.

“I’m extremely proud of him,” she said. “When Amari first told me about the award he was very nonchalant about it, but still very excited. I’m proud of him because he is able to naturally motivate and inspire the other students. He does his own work but he cares enough to want to see other students excel as well and I think that’s a very important trait.”

After graduating this spring, Hughes plans to attend Tompkins Cortland Community College to study computer science. He hopes to eventually work in the computer security field.

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