Devin Smith is on track to walk across the stage at Clinton High School’s graduation ceremony in the spring. But he’s looking forward to beginning college classes next month.
The senior is attending Johnson & Wales University in January to study culinary arts and business management.
“It’s where I always wanted to go,” Smith said about his dream school. “I know they have one of the best culinary arts program around.”
While growing, he enjoyed being around his grandmother as she cooked Sunday dinner. One of favorite cooking techniques is grilling.
Tracy Hatcher, an educator at Clinton High School, applauded his involvement in organizations. He is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Student Government Ambassadors, International Thespian Society and the school’s step team.
“He’s outstanding,” Hatcher said in regards to the student juggling academics and extracurricular activities. “He has high standards.”
Founded in Providence, R.I., Johnson & Wales University has satellite campuses in North Miami, Fla., Denver and Charlotte, where Smith will attend in the winter. He would like to the transfer to the Florida location in the future. After completing a program at Johnson & Wales, Smith wants to study abroad or work in a bigger city.
“I’m just ready to go,” Smith said about beginning the next chapter in his life.
He also received a scholarship to begin his studies at the university. During a recent visit, Kathy Jo Mitchell talked students about opportunities for financial assistance for the career focused institution.
“It provides students with experiential education that they’re not going to get at a lot of other schools,” Mitchell said about Johnson & Wales offering an upside down education where students jump right into their major during their freshman year. “It’s very much hands-on with small classes and small labs.”
Mitchell said the university is renowned for the culinary arts, but they also offer degrees in technology, business, hospitality, arts and sciences. Also, Mitchell said internships is a vital part of education at Johnson & Wales.
“Students will not only leave with a diploma, but they leave with a resume,” Mitchell said. “It’s the number one quality that employers are looking for — real world experience.”
Principal Steven Miller said Smith’s acceptance into Johnson & Wales is a fulfillment of a dream. Miller said it’s something he’s always talked about as a career pathway, which came with a lot of hard work through good grades.
“It’s really neat the realization of a plan,” Miller said. “He was a young person who was smart enough to make decisions early and put the plan in place to know that the dream is becoming a reality.”
Miller said he’s happy for the student who plans to begin his college career earlier than most students.
“It’s something he’s know about, he set his mind to it and it’s a part of his plan,” Miller said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.