A Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School student who is an aspiring iron worker is the winner of the 2018 Evan M. Schwarz Helping Hand Memorial Scholarship.
The $500 award was presented to student Jared Strokes, a senior from Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, by the Schwarz family, teacher Don Mattoon and Career and Technical School administrators during a Dec.19, 2018 ceremony in the Albany campus career and technical school welding classroom.
Strokes was honored for his dedication and commitment to the art and profession of welding.
“Welding has always interested me because there is a lot of science behind it and you can build almost anything you can think of,” said Strokes whose father operates the J.W. Danforth sheet metal shop in Malta and has taught Strokes a lot about sheet metal working.
Strokes is working towards earning the highest rank in Boy Scouts, Eagle Scout, and recently completed the required community service project – a project that also combined his passions and welding.
“For my community project I installed reflective address signs, out where I live at night it can be hard to find a house for a call, due to improper house marking. I am also an active member of Coeymans Hollow Volunteer Fire Corporation and thought this would be a great way to help others and give back to my community,” Strokes said.
Strokes also has a very ambitious and detailed plan for his future.
“I plan to land a job in the welding field, buy a house, raise a family, and not to give my kids what I didn’t have as a kid, but to teach them what I wish I knew growing up,” he said.
Capital Region BOCES Business Liaison Nancy Liddle said Strokes’ passion and love of welding stands out whenever he talks about the craft.
“His face literally lit up when I interviewed him for the scholarship. His passion and devotion to welding is like few others that I have seen,” Liddle said.
The Evan M. Schwarz award was established in 2011 to honor Evan Schwarz, who studied welding at Capital Region BOCES while a Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School junior and senior, earned straight A’s and has been described by his former teacher Mike Todd as “highly motivated, artistic and caring — just the type of student you’d want to have in your classroom.”
After graduation in 2006, Evan worked at the former Super Steel plant in Schenectady and earned membership in the ironworkers union.