Matt Phillips (Scholarship Recipient)

Matt Phillips

"In high school I worked part-time at a cafeteria. After three years at that job, I was about to graduate from high school and unsure about my future when my manager told me about the Hospitality and Culinary program at Johnson County Community College.

When I learned about what JCCC had to offer it was like a light bulb went on in my head for the first time in my life. I enrolled in the Chef Apprenticeship program and, through the program, was able to find immediate employment at a country club.

After my first year of school, I was approached by faculty to join the 5-member culinary team to represent JCCC in competitions. It was an amazing opportunity, but being a member of the team requires hundreds of hours of education and preparation. I didn't think I could participate because I couldn't afford to miss paychecks. So I was encouraged to apply for scholarships and was thrilled to have been awarded enough support to cover my expenses while working reduced hours. Without scholarships I would not have been able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Being a member of the culinary team at JCCC has been an unbelievable experience. My education has been tremendously enhanced and the one-on-one interactions with our faculty chefs have been priceless. This last year we traveled to competitions in Seoul, Korea and Hong Kong. In July, we were named American Culinary Federation National Champions. It was amazing to be able to bring that trophy home to JCCC.

I am just one of many hospitality and culinary students with a scholarship story... stories of lives forever changed by the generosity of scholarship donors and the outstanding opportunities at JCCC."