East, Lafayette Students Tour BOCES

August 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 11:43 PM EDT

By John Borsa

August 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 11:43 PM EDT

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) - Buses packed with students from Buffalo's East and Lafayette High Schools made the trip to the Harkness Center in Cheektowaga on Thursday night.

The facility, operated by Erie One BOCES, provides vocational training in areas like culinary arts, electrical engineering and auto repair.

Nearly 200 students and their parents took the tour, which should give students an idea of which program they want to enroll in.

Decisions must be made by September 1, just before the start of the new school year.

Jordan Christopher, a junior at East High School, attended the orientation with his mother.

"He might not be an honor student. He's an average student," said Gena Wilson, who is hoping BOCES will help keep her son focused.

"From my perspective, let's see what they have to offer. If it can give you a skill -- even if it can pique his interest in a particular area that he might want to pursue in college... that's really what I'm hoping to get out of this," she said.

The State Education Department ordered the Buffalo Board of Education to allow students at both schools the option to attend BOCES to help improve performance.