On Friday, October 28th, friends, families and DC Central Kitchen colleagues returned to the Naval Heritage Center in Penn Quarter to celebrate Culinary Job Training Class (CJT) 131’s triumphant graduation.
Sponsored by our strategic partner Raytheon Technologies, who has sponsored over 135 CJT students to date, Class 131 descended the auditorium staircase decked out in their crisp, new chef whites and toques to the tune of Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead. As they joined the distinguished guests—Alumni speaker Michael Ransome and LaWanda Scott, Associate Director at Raytheon Technologies—the CJT staff and DCCK CEO Mike Curtin on stage, the new members of the fall cohort sat along the front row getting a glimpse of what their future holds in the next few months.
During her Keynote speech, Ms. Scott emphasized how important lifelong learning and change are important in our daily lives to help us become better people. She said, “Go out and plant your seeds for yourself and others.”
After the certificates were presented to each graduate, class representative Alvin Smith came up to the podium and gave a powerful speech that truly showcased the strength and passion of Class 131. “Class 131, you have the qualifications, skills and the determination to overcome all of the obstacles—and there were obstacles, but we did it!”
With these inspiring words and a day filled with support and camaraderie, the graduation ceremony ended with joyful applause, bright smiles, and anticipation towards a new beginning for the 15 new chefs. We can’t wait to see these graduates thrive!