Kelli Wells, director of U.S. Education for the GE Foundation, cuts the ribbon to officially open the new CFES Center in Essex.
College For Every Student officially welcomed everyone to their new home May 10.
The CFES offices in Essex were unveiled at a grand opening reception attended by Congressman Bill Owens, State Assemblyman Dan Stec and former New York Gov. and Essex resident George Pataki.
“This is a fabulous occasion,” CFES Executive Director Rick Dalton said. “It is the most important event in our 22-year history. It offers a new opportunity for CFES, but most importantly it offers and new opportunity for the teachers, students and educators that we serve.”
Dalton said that with the new hub, CFES plans to double their efforts over the next seven years, going from serving 20,000 students throughout the nation to 40,000.
“This is something that will not only impact the lives of students and furthering their education, but there is an impact that this will have on our country,” Pataki said. “You are shining examples of what makes this country what it is. Whatever these kids have for dreams and goals, they can come true when you have the education foundation to build on.”
“We have a responsibility to give back to the community and help others get their education and the job that this center will help CFES accomplish is so critically important,” Owens said. “We need every asset to keep America strong.”
“We all value education, and that is a big part of our infrastructure,” Stec said. “When you come to a place like this and see a private industry work to help so many students, this is one of the ways that we are going to be able to get from here to there.”
CFES Board Chairman Dr. Ernie Stretton, former Lake Placid superintendent, said he feels the organization will be able to push forward and increase their work with the help of the new facility.
“Never have I encountered a program for young people that is as beneficial as CFES,” Stretton said. “This is the beginning of an expanded vision of raising the bar to meet the needs of even more students.”
Board Vice Chairman Dr. James Carter, who served as the superintendent of the Selma City Schools in Alabama, said he was eager to see the programs of CFES expand.
“We must educate every boy and girl in this country to the highest level possible, and that is what CFES is all about,” Carter said.
“This is an amazing learning center,” Willsboro Central School Superintendent Stephen Broadwell said. “This will be an educational magnet for teachers, administrators and educators from around the country. They are helping us create a culture of education.”
To officially open the center, GE Foundation Director of U.S. Education services Kelli Wells was asked to cut the ribbon.
“They have touched thousands and thousands of students across the nation,” Wells said.
“Kelli has believed in CFES from the beginning and has supported us in every way imaginable,” Dalton said.
The new CFES center was constructed around the building that houses the Essex Post Office, as the organization fixed up the current building while adding an addition to the back. Dalton said the project cost $1.5 million in all.