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Latest News from the Career and Technical Center

CTE senior honored for his compassion, willingness to help others 


Michael 'Harry' Mansion is honored as a 'Good Citizen'


Harry Mansion poses by character signsTalk to Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School (CTE) student Michael "Harry" Mansion and you quickly realize that he is wise and compassionate beyond his years.

"Everyone is important. People may have disabilities and they may be different from you or me, but they are people and they have value and deserve our respect and attention," said the Niskayuna High School senior as he completed his class work in the building trades program at the BOCES CTE Albany campus.

It is that compassion and understanding that led Mansion to be honored recently by CTE administrators and faculty as a "Good Citizen."

Mansion puts his thoughts and passion to work in his community, spending three to four days a week "hanging out" with Jonah, another Niskayuna senior who has cerebral palsy and is the son of a family friend.

"We recently went to a Pink Floyd concert and I go over to his house and we hang out and have a lot of fun. We will play games on his iPad and we bowl in his house. Sometimes we go to a bowling alley and he will bowl there with a ramp or we will just go for a walk and enjoy it," said Mansion, who chronicles his adventures with Jonah on a YouTube video series that can be accessed here.

Mansion said he started hanging out with Jonah as a sophomore to provide him some interaction with males his own age.
Mansion cutting
"He had a lot of caregivers in his life, but they we are all women and I felt it was important to reach out to him," said Mansion.

But while Mansion's efforts were initially designed to help Jonah, Mansion quickly realized he was benefiting from the interaction.

"When I feel really upset and I feel like I have nothing else in my life .... I always have Jonah and Jonah always has my back," the Niskayuna senior said. "Jonah is positive about everything."

Jonah isn't the first special needs student Mansion has befriended.

"In eighth grade, there was this kid who had difficulty interacting and I just started hanging out with him and going over to his house. It was important for him because he saw me as a lacrosse player and a 'cool kid' and others knew I was hanging with him — it helped him, but it also helped me," said Mansion.

While Mansion sounds like a perfect fit for a career in social services, he aspires to continue working with his hands and plans to attend community college in the fall to continue his education in the building trades.

He also plans to continue hanging out with Jonah.

"I am going to hang out with him and be by his side for the rest of our lives," Mansion said.

The top photo is a picture of Mansion.

In the second photo, he cuts wood in the CTE building trades lab.


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