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More than halfway to graduation!

With spring finally in the air, students at Promise Culinary School have completed more than half of the 19-week program on their way to graduation this June. For Jennifer, a single mom and domestic violence survivor, the road has had its share of bumps.

“Right now, it’s getting a little harder as we’re getting to the end,” she said. “The most challenging thing is memorizing the recipes. Sometimes I get stuck because of the pressure.”

Instructor/Chef Elizabeth Sadi and Jennifer take a break from class at Promise Culinary School.

To help her succeed, Jennifer is getting some tutoring, according to PCS Director Chef Pearl Thompson. “She’s a phenomenal student and she’s really smart. This is new language for her and I want to make sure she masters it,” Chef Pearl said. “She just needs support.”

Working with and around food is part of Jennifer’s heritage. Her mother had a restaurant when she was small, and she sometimes helped her, even as a small child. “She used to take me there when I was young, around six years old, to help her fold the napkins, set up the water and put out ice,” she said.

So far, she’s really enjoyed making crepes and her most recent creation – a mock potato salad made with cauliflower.

The life skills program offered by a leadership team from Wegmans was also a highlight. “I had never done an interview before and (the instructor) said I did a good job.”

She said it was a good lesson on how to present herself in a job interview.           .

The challenges of school combined with raising her sons have sometimes been discouraging, but Jennifer says she’s determined to complete the program.

“I don’t want to quit. They’re helping me a lot,” she said. “I feel like I shouldn’t give up. My kids are going to grow up and they need supplies and clothes and this is only for six months. I’m very happy.”