Food Bank of Delaware celebrates 40th graduating class

September 11, 2015

Today was a proud day for all of us at the Food Bank of Delaware! We celebrated the accomplishments of the 40th class of The Culinary School!

Despite challenges and obstacles, six students completed the 14-week training program. A crowd of almost 100 was on hand to congratulate the students for their perseverance.

Tanya Warner, Social Services Administrator for Delaware Health and Social Services’ Policy and Program Development Unit provided inspiring keynote remarks.

“For some of you this is the start of a career. For others it’s the start of a new chapter,” said Warner. “Don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it. Believe in you if no one else does.”

Tanya shared her experience as a single mom on welfare and her decision to overcome obstacles to be successful. She enrolled in college, graduated Magna Cum Laude and started her job with the State of Delaware just two days after graduation.

“You’re going to struggle,” she advised students. “The struggle is real as they say, but don’t give up and don’t quit.”

For the past 14 weeks, the students have been developing their skills and passion for the culinary arts. From proper knife handling techniques to ServSafe certification and completing a two-week internship, the students are prepared for entry-level jobs in the food industry.

Four of six students completed internships at La Fia in Wilmington.

“I don’t want any thanks,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “I want them to get a job and keep it. This is the only reason we do this.”

Of the six graduates, three have already landed jobs at local restaurants.

When accepting their certificates, all of the graduates were thankful for the opportunity to attend The Culinary School.

“This is a great privilege and honor to be here,” said graduate Lolita DeVaughn. “It has been a great experience. I am very thankful.”

After three attempts, Ty’Nequa Matthews shared that she had finally successfully completed the program. The audience burst into applause!

Last to accept her certificate and the class’ oldest graduate at age 61, April Selby said it best, “As long as you have life, you have an opportunity to change it.”

Following the graduation ceremony, students prepared lunch for all. The menu included lobster quesadillas, spinach and artichoke dip, Caesar salad, bean salad, roasted beef tenderloin, pasta with pesto and peach cobbler for dessert!

Congratulations, graduates:

  • Gary Boyer
  • Lolita DeVaughn
  • Ky’Juan Fields
  • Ty’Nequa Matthews
  • Kenneth Nocks
  • April Selby

To learn more about The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware, please click here.

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