TST BOCES students, county sheriff’s department benefit from project collaboration

Tompkins Weekly Staff


Photo Provided. From left, CTE welding students Mason Arnold of Dryden, Garrett Rushlow of Lansing, and Darren Wojtanik of Newfield, stand with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s vehicle on which they worked.

Students in TST BOCES career and tech classes and the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department recently collaborated on a project that paid dividends for both groups.
The sheriff’s office connected with the TST BOCES Career and Technical Education program to request help fixing a set of steel steps attached to a van used to transport incarcerated individuals. The steps fold down when in use and fold up to remain out of the way while driving. Over time, the steps required maintenance and were no longer safe to use.

With the assistance of welding instructor Randy Jackson, three welding students – Mason Arnold of Dryden, Garrett Rushlow of Lansing, and Darren Wojtanik of Newfield – assessed the project to determine what would be needed to make the necessary repairs and devised a plan to make the steps usable again. Then the students were able to use skills they had learned in class to implement their plan and fix the steps.

Then the project was turned over to the CTE auto body program for completion. Three auto body students – Avery Ellis of Dryden, and Anthony Hatch and Cheyenne Ponton, both from the Ithaca City School District – polished the steps and pivot joints before applying the truck bed liner as a finish. The truck bed liner provides durability as well as traction for improved safety.

“We at the sheriff’s office like to reach out to our community partners to see if there’s an opportunity we can share services,” said Tompkins County Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Bunce. “We got it all together and got it done, and the sheriff appreciates every bit of it. They did a fantastic job.”

For more information about TST BOCES Career and Technical Education program, visit TSTBoces.org/career-and-technical-education.