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Donna Arrington – Baking and Pastry Specialist Graduate | Clovis

“I began my journey with high hopes. I was 51 at the time and anxious to see what I could do. I had been a cake decorator and a baker in my past but I wanted to improve my “from scratch” skills. ok, I didn’t have any. I started off well but got in my own way. I took a leave of absence, tried again, and failed a course. It was very frustrating. I had this idea that I knew what I was doing just because I had worked in the industry already and I was older. I knew some, but I had such a big Ego.

My instructors never let that bother them, though, and they treated me with respect and equality with all other students. I could tell they genuinely cared and wanted us all to succeed. I felt comfortable enough to approach them with my personal issues because of how they seemed to listen and always did so without judgment. I was failing because I found myself in a downward spiral, a relapse, and emotional turmoil. Although my personal business was my own, I started this journey for a reason. I had developed a good feeling about me doing it, and just when I thought I was going to lose everything, Chef Jim Stated, “I’m rooting for you”. Chef Anabel, Chef Kevin, Melinda Woods, Josh in career, Chef DaYatra, and Chef Edith, they were ALL rooting for me.

I was honest about my personal struggles with this school. They remained professional and yet, genuine and supportive. They somehow knew how to guide me in the right direction without telling me what to do. Maybe it was just that they simply gave me all the encouragement and opportunities I needed to succeed. The same opportunities as any other student, but It made me feel important. They gave me a reason to want to succeed. I didn’t want to let them down. It was like I had a cheerleading team in the background –Yeah, Donna!!! Of course, they didn’t baby me, I mean, if my icing tasted bad, they would tell me and have me make it again. lol, I totally respected their teachings, I seen and tasted their products in the classroom. These Chefs are good at what they do.

I kicked my Ego to the curb, and I stopped a relapse that was in motion. I learned– with their guidance and help, sooo much more than Baking. Because of their support and willingness to help me, help myself, together, “WE DID IT!” I graduated. a few months late but I was able to walk across that stage on graduation day with confidence in myself. I had never been able to do that before. I now have a beautiful certificate, amazing memories of lessons learned, and laughter in the classroom. I am moving forward with confidence that I hadn’t had before, and I am creating a future for myself. I am in College for a business degree so I can own a baking business for myself. I have some skills now. I couldn’t have done it without them. I will always be Grateful for my Teaching Chefs, and my personal cheerleaders, and I cherish my time at the Institute Of Technology.”

Donna Arrington – BPS, Class of 2022