The Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education just released its 2017 edition of R U COLLEGE & CAREER READY?, and it features two Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) graduates. In the magazine’s profiles of 16 career clusters, Kellam High School graduate Justin White and First Colonial High School graduate Alina Thompson discuss their career success in culinary arts and marketing respectively.
Both White and Thompson credit VBCPS career and technical education courses for setting them on the path to success in their careers. White was a student in the culinary arts program at the Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education (TCE) Center, and Thompson studied marketing and entrepreneurship at the Advanced Technology Center.
In the magazine’s article “Elevating cuisine,” author Valerie Garabelli noted White’s passion for cooking in his childhood was further ignited and developed at the TCE Center. “That was my transition into working in actual restaurants,” White told Garabelli. “Looking back, I realize the Tech Center’s kitchen is pretty close to a real restaurant.”
According to the article, White earned associate and bachelor’s degrees at the Culinary Institute of America in California while gaining more experience at area French restaurants and bistros. The article also reports that White currently works in Atlanta as a corporate chef for a banking technology company and also owns and runs Franca, a French inspired pop-up, or temporary, restaurant that operates in different locations throughout the city.
First Colonial graduate Thompson currently works as the marketing coordinator for the Country Music Association (CMA) in Nashville and helps coordinate promotions associated with the CMA’s annual events including the CMA Awards, CMA Country Christmas and CMA Music Festival. She told Jessica Sabbath, who wrote the magazine article “Combining a love for music and marketing,” that her marketing and entrepreneurship courses taught her marketing skills such as product presentation, copywriting, visual displays and customer service – all skills she uses in her current position with the CMA.
Thompson said she has always had a love of music and developed a love for marketing in high school – passions that serve her well while planning events for up to 80,000 people. “Our events are on such a large scale,” she told Sabbath. “We work with so many different artists and labels. We have to develop and follow through on promotions agreements with all our partners. It can be kind of chaotic, but it’s a lot of fun.”
According to the magazine article, Thompson plans to continue her marketing career in Nashville. “I really love working with all the country music artists and the labels,” she said. “I have something fun and different to work on every day.”
R U COLLEGE & CAREER READY? is published in partnership with Virginia Business Publications and is distributed to all high school sophomores at Virginia’s public schools. It showcases Virginia students and includes career tips, tools and resources to help students choose the right option to excel in their chosen career paths.
A copy the magazine is also available online to view or download, and the profiles featuring White and Thompson are on pages 40-41 and pages 50-51 respectively.