News

BOCES Presents Peekskill Student of Distrinction



November 20, 2018

Jennifer Villa, a student in the Law Enforcement program at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, was humble and poised as she received a Student of Distinction Award at the Peekskill City School District Board of Education meeting on November 20. Villa was recognized for her outstanding leadership skills, academic progress, and community spirit.
 
“We could be here all night talking about Jennifer,” said Stephen Lowery, Principal of the BOCES Tech Center. “Her attendance and academics are perfect. What you can’t measure, but you can see every day, is her attitude. She is a true leader among her peers. The students in our class look up to her and for the right reasons. Tonight, her class is down feeding the homeless as a community service project. Jennifer really wanted to be there and considered sacrificing this night for her to be with her classmates and to do some community service. That speaks volumes to the character of this young lady.”
 
Villa, who was surprised to be receiving such a special award, had a few inspiring thoughts to share after she received her commemorative medal and certificate. “I can reach for the stars,” Villa said. “My parents have helped me learn that. I can push myself and become an example not only for my brother, but for other kids who have immigrant parents. They can reach anything as long as they set their minds to it.”
 
Villa’s parents also attended Peekskill City School District and even had some of the same teachers she has now. Their pride for their daughter was on full display. They beamed as they watched her.
 
“I’m so proud of her,” said her father, Wilson Villa, with tears in his eyes. “We push her. We always tell her ‘you have to be more than me.’ We started here with not much.”
 
Her mother, Veronica Lalvay, agreed, saying “She’s a good girl, she never gives me any headaches. I always say, God sent me the perfect daughter. She’s perfect in every way.”
 
Villa is considering studying forensic psychology when she goes to college next year. “To get inside the mind of a criminal is so intriguing,” she said, in a conversation before the meeting started. “Not only are you getting inside the mind of a criminal, but I could use these skills in real life. I could get into a fight with my mother and figure out the logic behind it and understand her a little bit better. To get inside the mind of a person is so cool. I can’t even describe it. It’s so fun!”
 
Whatever Villa decides to do with her life, she has a cheering crowd of supporters standing behind her.
 
“I know that she’s going to be very successful in everything she does,” Lowery said. “She has a lot of goals and aspirations. She’s very driven. We really could go on and on about her. She’s a special young lady that we’re very proud to share with Peekskill.”