The Next Step

The Next Step: College or Gap Year

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-30-50-pmAs the senior year of high school begins, many students are already     considering the end.  This final year of school for many is not just homecoming dances, clubs, and sporting events, but FASFA, essays, and deadlines; not to mention grades, testing, and more testing.  It seems that a year that should be filled with excitement, enjoying the many final moments with friends you’ve made along the way, and basking in the power of the upperclassman status, is marred by stress and endless questions.  Recently, a student said to me, “If one more person asks me where I’m going to college…”

Enter the Gap Year.  For decades, this was frowned upon.  Now it is in fashion and a popular response to THE question, but it is a small chunk of time that can have far reaching pros and cons, and something not to be considered lightly.  The gap year, does not benefit every student.

For some, this free time is detrimental and can spawn apathy towards school and the whole academic experience.  Many students find work making money that simply lines their pockets, while continuing to live at home.  The façade of “easy living” can blur a young mind and promote entitlement.

For others, it is seen as a gift of time; time to understand the magnitude of the decision that needs to be made and to choose wisely.  This time frame is typically filled with working and saving money.  The financial aid process can be explored more diligently and the choice of which college to attend can be considered wholeheartedly.

Whichever pathway a student takes, it is important for the student to remember that there’s only one senior year and it should be experienced to the fullest and that may have different meanings to different students.   “Beginning with the end in mind,” while words of wisdom, must be tempered with fun and spending time just being a kid If at all possible.  Adulthood and major decisions are coming down the pike soon enough.

The Quest to Become a Chef

In the quest to become a chef, what path to take is always the question; do you pay the money and go to culinary school or do you get a job and work your way up through the ranks. In my opinion, you need to do both. Each path introduces concepts and teaches lessons that are specific to the experience and are beneficial down the road.

Chef Daniel Boulud makes a valid case for the importance of culinary school:

” I think [culinary schools] are indispensable to a young chef who really wants to make a career in that field… culinary schools give access to such a repertoire of basic knowledge one has to acquire,” he says. “…you don’t always acquire that as soon as you work for a chef who has too much personalization… I think it’s good to know the basics. You have access to libraries, you have access to time to study.” 

Culinary schools give the student the time and opportunity to learn all that they can and more importantly, a place to make mistakes. Often in a busy, professional kitchen, the cooks don’t have a lot of wiggle room for making mistakes when it’s happening on the chef’s dime. Culinary school can give you a solid foundation so the student can take a job in a professional kitchen and not feel so out of place.

The next step as graduation approaches is to find a mentor. The student has to actively research the best chef to work with before leaving school. One great resource for that is the Zagat guide. This guide lists the top restaurants in a specific city. The student needs to make a list of all the chefs they want to work with and research that chef and their food.

Once graduation comes, it’s time to get moving. Students need to actively find a job. Once they land that kitchen job, it’s important to stick it out. Often the stress of the kitchen, the level of professionalism that is demanded, and the demeanor of the chef can send a student running. Students need to stick it out and stay put for at least 6 months, but one year is best. For employers looking at resumes, job stability for that length of time is paramount. During this time the student can really get comfortable with their skills and make a statement in that kitchen. Often the student will end up staying at that restaurant, as they become an important part of the family and possibly move up the ladder.

On the pathway to becoming a chef, the reality is not what is shown on the Food Network. It takes 10,000 hours of schooling and hard work, day after day to learn the skills needed to perform the job of a successful chef. It is achievable and can be had much more quickly by attending school, but it is a job to be carefully considered. Like many professions though, if it’s right for you, then the reality is only a matter of time.



Supporting Student Strengths

Promoting our student’s strengths starts with teaching them to self-analyze.  If they can identify where their strengths lie, they can see this as a foundation to build on.  If we as teachers can be privy to this information as well, it helps us to see the student as an individual.  This makes it easier to help them feel self-assured and set goals that build on the positive.

One tool that helps students to identify their talents and strengths and relate them to career exploration is Washington Career Bridge.  This site, sponsored by the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, helps students to explore their interests and how those interests may fit with various careers.  It shows current job trends providing a search tool for specific jobs and current salaries offered in those areas, by county.  There is also an education search tool, matching the intended career, with the education requirements, and a suggested list of colleges and universities that offer those pathways.

This tool is a great way to get students to understand that if they do a little self-exploration and know their interests and talents that they will identify an area that might lead them to a career with a solid income and be doing something that they love.


       screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-11-08-08-pm A few years back, we had a Deaf student.  The student was assigned an interpreter who would attend class with the student.  At first, the student was doing well and did not need any additional help with the class material.  As the semester progressed though, it became evident that the student would need some additional help.  Since I study American Sign Language, I volunteered to tutor the student on my own time, after school.  This benefitted both of us; I was able to practice my signing, and the student was able to get help from someone who understood the material well.  The district benefitted from not having to pay for an interpreter.  It was a win-win situation for all involved.


How to Succeed in Culinary Arts

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-5-25-49-pmAre you interested in joining our Culinary Arts class?  Below are some keys to success.  We run a catering business that is open to the public, so we take our job seriously.  Take a look and ask yourself if this course is the right fit for you.

Safe and precise knife skills.

Awareness and practice of food safety and sanitation.

Ability to be a leader and delegate tasks.

Ability to multi-task.

Ability to produce under pressure.

Strong time management.

Open mind to learning and tasting different foods and techniques.

Know your short and long term goals.

Respect authority.

Take the time to get to know your classmates.

Be modest, your time will come.

If you want to see what we’ve been doing, check out our website,

How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

Wendy Jordan

South Seattle College



Formatting writing styles is important because it leads to a consistent way to organize content.  Which type is chosen depends on the realm within which the author is publishing the work.  This paper will provide the student with a general template for writing in the APA style.  These styles are commonly required in higher education and lend themselves to more accurate evaluation.

 How to Write a Paper in APA Style: A Student Handbook

        The APA paper format has 3 styles depending upon the goal: the general format, the literature review format, and the experimental report format. For the purpose of this handbook, we will focus on the general format.  The other forms will accommodate students who are further along in their studies (E. Angeli, 2010).

The General APA format includes four major sections: the title page, the abstract, the main article, and a reference page, all of which are written on their own page.  The font should be 10-12-point Standard font, the paper should be double spaced, with 1-inch margins.  Each page of the paper includes a page header in uppercase letters, left aligned and every page is numbered to the right (E. Angeli, 2010).

The title page information should begin in the upper half of the page and be centered.  The information should include the title of your paper, your name and your school.  As explained previously, the “Running head: SHORT TITLE OF YOUR PAPER”, (E. Angeli, 2010) is included only in this section.  The remaining sections will simply restate the short title.

The abstract must be labeled as such, centered, and also include the page header and page number.  What follows is a brief summary of what the reader will learn from the paper.  It should contain your main theme and some form of result or conclusion.  The word count is short so keep it to between 150 and 250 words (E. Angeli, 2010).

Your main article or the body of your paper begins with an introduction summarizing the basic information and catch the readers attention.  Information here can be general with broad concepts.  The paper continues with a focus on stronger supportive content and completes with a conclusion.  The conclusion should sum up the papers focus and provide a final statement.

The APA style papers are concluded with a reference page.  It has a page header and page numbers.  The word reference is centered and all citations are in the appropriate APA format in alphabetical order.  The reference entries are indented as well.


     American Psychological Association. (2016). Why is APA Style needed? Retrieved from APA Style:

Angeli, J. W. (2010, May 5). General Format. Retrieved from

Rogers, K. (n.d.). Writing in Style. APA Style Manual Online Training for Edition 6.0. Tennessee: University of Tennessee. Retrieved from APA 6.0.