Introducing students to relevant real-world work or college experiences prepares them for post-secondary schooling or for direct entry into their careers. Students in the Culinary Arts program attended an informal, but informative meeting with three Career & Technical Center graduates who are in various stages of their careers.
Elise Macur, a 2011 Ulster BOCES Culinary program graduate from the Wallkill Central School District, went on to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and graduated in 2014. Today, Macur is an admissions counselor at the college's New York campus. Macur was joined by 2008 Kingston City School District and Culinary Arts graduate Anrika Colbourne and 2016 graduate Wayne Rockwell from the Onteora Central School District. Colbourne graduated from Johnson & Wales University and after an assortment of positions at various elite restaurants and exciting business ventures, she is a freelance pastry chef and the owner/operator of One & Only Cakes. Rockwell is currently a student at the CIA and has completed an externship at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
The three shared their experiences about what they learned in both the Ulster BOCES Culinary Arts program and while in college, and they imparted valuable industry advice.
Macur advised the culinary students to take advantage of Ulster BOCES to help figure out what areas they want to specialize in. “I like baking, so that is what I pursued in college,” she says. “[Ulster] BOCES is such a good opportunity to figure out what you want to do, but also what you don’t want to do because college is expensive,” she counseled. Macur also advised them to take advantage of the student-run club SkillsUSA and the prestigious ProStart competition since there are scholarship awards available.
Rockwell says participating in ProStart confirmed that pursuing a career in the culinary profession was his calling. “I thought I could do this for the rest of my life,” he recalls. Colbourne agrees. “I will always, always, always, say that Ulster BOCES is where I got my start.”
- Career & Technical Education (CTE)