SOMERS, N.Y. -- Somers student Brittney Morel is going to find it pretty hard to top the beginning of her senior year.
Morel, who studies cosmetology at the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES Tech Center, recently was asked to serve as the president of the school's chapter of SkillsUSA.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry leaders who work together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
Local educators said she has impressed all with her work ethic, talent, enthusiasm and “infectious smile.”
Now, she can add another item to her long list of accolades.
After being named as Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES’ Student of Distinction, Morel was honored by school officials at a recent meeting of the Somers Board of Education.
The tech center has more than 1,000 students, and less than 10 receive the distinction each year, said Principal Steve Lowery.
Lowery congratulated Morel at a ceremony attended by school officials and the teen’s family, saying she “comes in each day with an infectious smile.”
Calling Morel a “true leader,” the principal also praised her “positive work ethic” and said she also stood out because “everyone around her can always count on her for help.”
He then presented her with a certificate of recognition and a medal.
Morel said she has enjoyed her time at BOCES, and has learned much more than just cosmetology skills.
“I went into this program thinking it was all about makeup, and then I learned it was a mix of makeup and hair, but I stuck with the program because cosmetology is a great skill to have as I go through life,” she said.
Morel also said she was grateful to be learning how to navigate today’s complicated job market.
Students in the program are learning how to write resumes, which, she said “is something I can use for the future.”
“This year has really prepared me for real life,” Morel said.
Singling out Nicole Laino, Morel also thanked her teachers for helping her succeed in school.
“The teachers that I have are really great,” she said. “They work one on one with me and try to help me understand what I’m learning.”
“Brittney is a wonderful student,” said Laino, the teacher who nominated Morel for the award. “Not only does she always put in her best effort for her assignments, but she is always looking for ways to improve.”
Morel hopes to become a certified cosmetologist and said – while still undecided about where she will attend college next fall – she is seriously considering going to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
Morel’s parents praised the BOCES program as excellent and said they were thrilled.
Said her mom, Arlene: “She put in the work, and I’m just so ecstatic right now. I could not be prouder of my daughter.”
She thanked the BOCES faculty for the great job they did with her, adding: “we’re very grateful for that.”