Lakeland’s Amari Hughes Named Student of Distinction


Pictured Above: Student of Distinction Amari Hughes stands with his mother, BOCES Administrators and a BOCES Board member. (From L to R) BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan, Letitia Hughes, Amari Hughes, BOCES Board member Tina Mackay and Tech Center Principal James Bellucci BOCES Student of Distinction Amari Hughes shows off his awards after a Lakeland Board meeting on January 19, 2017.

What started as a passion for computers and video games eventually led Lakeland Central School District student Amari Hughes to the Micro Computer Technology program at PNW BOCES’ Tech Center. There, Hughes’ passion for technology only grew. 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.

Joined by family members, BOCES administrators and BOCES Board members, Hughes happily accepted a Certificate of Recognition and Medal of Honor presented by Tech Center Principal James Bellucci and BOCES Superintendent Dr. James Ryan.

According to Tech Center teacher Joseph DeCicco, Hughes was a natural choice for the honor of Student of Distinction. “Every time Amari comes to class he goes all out and gives it his best effort,” Mr. DeCicco said, adding that Hughes is an A student in his class.

DeCicco noted that Hughes’ work ethic extends well beyond the classroom and that Hughes often goes above and beyond to help his 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,” Mr. DeCicco said.

Hughes says the BOCES’ program has helped prepare him for a career after high school and he credits DeCicco for providing 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,” said Hughes. “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 Hughes, was excited to see her son accept his Student of Distinction award.

“I’m extremely proud of him,” Mrs. Hughes 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 Thompkins Cortland Community College to study computer science, with an eye toward working in the computer security field.