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Instructor Brian Hall, director of the Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business, with members of the Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business.
Instructor Brian Hall, director of the Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business, with members of the Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business.

Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business celebrates student success

Fri, Jun 21st 2024 11:00 am

6 students graduate from 3-year program

By Terry Duffy


As Lewiston-Porter High School prepares for its annual commencement exercises at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at Artpark, its “school within a school” celebrated a memorable event of its own last week at the Youngstown Yacht Club.

There, six members of the 2024 graduating class of the Lewiston-Porter Academy of Business (LPBA) marked the completion of a three-year program that has its focus on preparing students for real-world work experiences.

“This is the graduation for our seniors, who have put in a lot of work over the last three years of their time at Lew-Port, earning their recognition tonight,” Lewiston-Porter business instructor Brian Hall said.

He directs the LPBA with Nicole Krawczyk, a Lew-Port business instructor and coordinator of its internship program. Together, the two work with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education, district administrators, with a board of advisers, instructors, and the local business community.

“Our board of advisers do a lot of work behind the scenes that our students don’t see,” Hall said. Together with the internship providers “they are part of our academy experience for our students to be future-ready,” Hall said. “And in order for them to be future-ready, we want them to have some real-world experience or working with your businesses, not just having a summer job, but actually learning about how to be a professional.”

This year’s class members include:

•Alfred Bax, who will attend the University at Buffalo to study mechanical engineering. Bax said his experience has prepared him for everything – communication skills, job skills, presentations.

“It made him better,’” Hall said.

•Roman Colangelo, who is attending the University of Alabama to study environmental engineering.

“He (credits) the academy for exposing him to networking skills,” Hall said. “He saw it from a management perspective” during an internship at Tops.

•Julia Nowicki, who will attend Pennsylvania State University, with an as-yet-undecided major.

Hall said her experience, plus her internship with the Maid of the Mist, “prepared her for college. It took the stress away.”

•Sophie Schimmelpennick, who will attend St. Lawrence University to major in environmental studies. Schimmelpennick’s internship at Tops “helped her to become more professional – the interview skills, the presentation, the talking skills she didn’t know,” Hall said. “She knows how to present herself.”

•Owen Sweeney, who will attend the University at Buffalo’s Honors College for mechanical engineering. Sweeney, who interned with Heart, Love & Soul, praised the LPBA for exposing him to communication skills, networking, volunteering and community service.

“It’s very important for him, working as a team, giving back” to the community, Hall said.

•Alexander Unversaw, who plans to attend Purdue University and major in industrial engineering. He thanked the LPBA for giving him “a taste of the working world, especially his internship at Artpark,” Hall said. “He learned those skills and used them.”

Brian Hall



Best described as a school-within-a-school approach, the LPBA has its focus squarely on business. It is geared to providing students knowledge and skills to give them a distinct advantage as they plan their future academic and professional careers.

“The Academy of Business and Finance is designed for students who seek to broaden their knowledge in the vital areas of business and finance,” the district website explains. “It is meant to be a challenging and rewarding program for those who are interested in a unique educational experience.”

The LPBA is member of the NAF Be Future Ready program. Students participate in “career-focused curricula that incorporate current industry standards and practices, project-based learning, and performance-based assessment. NAF empowers teachers to expand the classroom boundaries by exposing students to real-world issues in career-focused industries through connections with industry professionals and the business community,” the NAF website noted.

LPBA takes that a step further by means of establishing partnerships with the business community and enabling students to have experiences in various career fields. The options may range from medical to tech, entertainment and the arts to engineering, government to education.

 “To be certified, our students need to do an 80-hour internship that’s paid,” Hall said. “Not all companies want to hire a high school kid and pay them $1,200 to do work over the summer. So, what your sponsorship goes to is to help us open up more doors. We’ll pay for half of that (or all of it).

“And our academy is growing. We had 22 (members) in the academy last year. Next year, we’re opening up with 51 students in the academy. It’s growing; it’s catching on.

“This year we have six wonderful graduates; next year we’ll have 15. So, we have a lot of work to keep that going.”

Lewiston-Porter Superintendent of Schools Paul Casseri said, “Everybody should give this guy a big round (of applause). This is the 15th year of the program that I started when I was back in the high school. It has had its ups and downs over the years. (Brian and Nicole) … they are a tremendous team.”

Lewiston-Porter Principal Christopher D’Anna said, “Mr. Hall, Mrs. Krawczyk, they do such an amazing job. (The LPBA) gives the students experiences that you’re just not going to get in the normal, school day. It gives the students real-world experience. The experience, no matter what you go into, when you see a whole lot of experiences, jobs, they are getting into, it really gives them a leg up on everyone else, because they’ve already interviewed, been out in the business world, and they’ve already seen how a business runs from a different perspective than everyone else.

“This program is super, super important. It allows this wonderful (high school) community to get so much better. These students are going out and giving back to the community. It’s super important, to give back.

“So, thank you to all, and congratulations to our academy graduates.”

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