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BOCES' Student of Distinction from PCSD honored

Joel Griffiths poses at the Poughkeepsie Board of Education meeting alongside his parents and administrators.Joel Griffiths, a Poughkeepsie City School District student, was named Dutchess BOCES’ Student of Distinction for February.

Griffiths was recognized at the Poughkeepsie Board of Education meeting March 6.

“I feel happy,” the eighth-grade student at BOCES’ Salt Point Center said. “I think that they chose me because they see my improvements. I also see how much I got better at things during my time here. I’m growing up and I am more mature and capable of knowing the right things to do.”

The Salt Point Educational Center is a child-centered school for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. It’s “small, nurturing environment” provides students “the maximum amount of attention necessary to improve academic and social skills,” according to its website. Salt Point Principal Melissa Murphy called Griffiths “a good example of a student who works hard, asks for help and is a positive member of the school community.

“Joel has immense care and compassion for the well-being of others,” Murphy said, and is “helpful to younger students, an encouraging teammate and supportive friend.”

Griffiths enjoys playing the piano, which he learned from his father, and has offered to play keyboard at school events, Murphy said.

“I find peace in playing the piano,” Griffiths said.

He’s also involved in the Special Olympics and will compete in the basketball skills competition at Marist College on March 24.

Griffiths, who dreams of becoming an electrician, said he is grateful to everyone that has supported his journey at the Salt Point Center, including his teachers, Magali Cruz, Kathy Rexhouse and his current teacher, Valerie Cantone.

“She is a loving, caring and hard-working teacher. She's tough on us because she wants us to succeed and have a good future,” Griffiths said of Cantone. “I want to thank her for that.”