On Thursday, July 23rd, La Cocina VA and friends celebrated the graduation of the Second Class of our Bilingual Culinary Training Program. Sandra Cerna from El Salvador, Gloria Cuevas from Peru, Gimena Jimenez from Argentina, Glaudia Dinora Marroquin from Guatemala, and Mabel Pinto from Bolivia received their diplomas on stage at Mount Olivet of the United Methodist Church in front of friends, family, and supporters of La Cocina VA. They were each awarded a ServSafe Food Safety certification, as well as a certificate of completion in the culinary arts from Northern Virginia Community College.
This class has a 100% graduation rate and every student is graduating with a new job in the food service industry.
This class has a 100% graduation and job placement rate, with Sandra Cerna now working at a Whole Foods store in Alexandria, Gloria Cuevas at the Arlington Westin Gateway in a full time position and at a Whole Foods store in Arlington, Gimena at Levanese Taverna in Tyson’s Corner, Glaudia at a Whole Foods store in Vienna, and Mabel at Allspice Catering and Cafe in Arlington, Virginia.
Rosaelena O’Neil, a member of the board of directors at Northern Virginia Community College, served as Master of Ceremonies. The Key Note speaker was Walter Tejada, Vice-Chair of Arlington County Board and remarks were made by Jane Mueller from Whole Foods and Diana Katz from the Giving Circle of Hope. Each spoke about their admiration and high hopes for the graduating students and their reasons for support La Cocina VA.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed delicious food at the reception catered by the current third class of our Bilingual Culinary Training Program. Guided by Chef Alberto Vega Ruiz, the current students prepared a wide variety of food that the guests greatly enjoyed and ate fast.