Culinary Arts, BirminghamJay


“I just moved to Birmingham and I didn’t like the job that I got. I wasn’t happy. So after I quit, I was looking for something to do and thought that I’ve always wanted to own a restaurant or work in the field in some way. I thought that this nine-month program would fit perfectly with my timeframe here in Birmingham.

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I am married and she’s in school. She’s in a one-year program and I had a job for, like, two months and then I quit that and was looking for another job — I actually turned down a pretty good job in order to come here.

I have a four-year business degree. But going to school when you’re 22…I am in my 30s now, that part has been a little insane. It’s a good, fun, laid-back environment. It wasn’t hard to adjust.

“My wife is my biggest supporter, she’s amazing.”

Owning a restaurant is the long-term goal. I don’t know what kind yet because I don’t know where we’re moving. I am trying to gain as much knowledge about all the different aspects so when I end up where I end up, I can look at what that market needs and then create a business plan based on those needs. Whether it ends up being a bake shop or a French restaurant, or a steak house. I’m going to make it work, wherever I end up. Once I get an idea of what the community needs.

I make a good salmon, but I don’t have anything particular that I am known for yet. I have made several other things that I made here for my wife and my family. I bring home good food. So that’s a nice motivation for the both of us. I don’t normally eat all of the bread and cakes and pastries and stuff. So that’s changed. My wife’s real happy about it. All these pastries and cakes and pies and stuff.

My wife is my biggest supporter, she’s amazing.”

We’re in this togetherRead More of Our Stories

Calvin, Birmingham“I’ve been out of high school for 36 years.”

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Brian, Huntsville“Hardcore rock and roll musicians and time management don’t really go together.”

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Sharon, Chattanooga“I was in a movie with Jamie Foxx. It came up just by accident. I played a chef.”

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Are you a Virginia College student, graduate or staff member?We’d love to hear your story!

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Jasmine, Spartanburg Student

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Laura, Jacksonville Student

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Chelsea, Birmingham Graduate

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Eric, Jackson Student

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Lakesha, Savannah Student

“I want my son to know that you are never too old to accomplish any of your dreams and you can do anything you set your mind to.”

Jessica, Knoxville Student

“I am the oldest of five kids. At a young age my mother got sick, and I had to step up to the plate.”

Lauren, Austin Student

“Before enrolling in school, I never really felt like I was doing what I should be doing.”

Bonnie, Florence Student

“I gave up partying late at night to study late at night. And all the hard work paid off.”

Yesica, ChattanoogaGraduate

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Caitlin, Montgomery Student

“I didn't choose cosmetology, it chose me!”

Kumesia, Jacksonville Graduate

“I was 34, a single mother of three. I worked full-time and was a full-time student. My life was nonstop for two years. As time went on it became a lot easier and a lot more fun.”

LaTasha, Augusta Graduate

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Almarina, Shreveport Graduate

“I’m a 37-year-old proud mother of three children and three stepchildren, a full-time student with a 4.0 GPA, and working full-time.”

Virginia, Lubbock Student

“Being in the military and seeing a lot of people sick, it gave me the motivation to do something challenging and be better.”

Jamar, Savannah Graduate

“I am motivated by the students. I am constantly reminded that everyone is reaching for something.”

Kelly, Pensacola Instructor

“I am scared to death to leave my classmates and teachers when I graduate because I love them and have become attached.”

Kelsey, Baton Rouge Student

“I love everything about cosmetology — hair, makeup, nails, everything!”

Camell, Columbia Student

“Being a chef is a dream of mine. I don’t want to think about what could have been. I had to take the chance.”

Fred, Richmond Student

“I chose the field I am in because I have always wanted to help people who are sick feel better.”

Kennesha, Huntsville Graduate

“I chose Business Administration because I wanted to fully understand owning and operating a business. I am very independent and very curious.”

Cronyn, Charleston Student

“I kept telling myself I was going to do this but never did it. Last year, I put my foot down and told myself that I am going to finish school.”

Kerpernia, Mobile Student

“My husband passed away in February 2017. I chose the medical assistant field because of taking care of him and my elderly parents.”

Janet, Knoxville Student

“Never let anyone stop you from becoming a greater person in life. No matter what, keep going!”

Allison, Columbus Student

“I am 53 and decided to start over in my career.”

Tammy, Augusta Student

“There was a time in my life when I was sickly. One day, my husband took me to get a makeover. The transformation was phenomenal. I want to make people feel the way I felt that day.”

Sable, Columbus Graduate

“The proudest moment in my life is that after I had my son, I returned to finish my schooling.”

Ryan, Charleston Student

“I worked as a hairstylist for over 30 years and a licensed cosmetology instructor for 23 years. I know that hard work pays off in the long run.”

Meshandra, Macon Instructor

“I’m not a person that gives up easily on myself or others.”

Christine, Savannah Student