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December 2019

114th Graduation Gallery

Culinary Institute Lenotre® 114th graduating class walked across the stage and into their bright culinary futures on Friday morning December 20th, 2019. With students from Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts and Restaurant Management – Houston is sure to witness the #LenotreLegacy first hand! Congratulations to all our graduates and good luck!

Candice Evans - Graduation Speech

     “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.” Knowing what you want to do in life, or even who you want to be, is very challenging. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was going through school. I kept switching back and forth between careers, trying to figure out who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. It’s not easy.

     When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be a nurse, I never planned on going to culinary school, I loved baking at the time, but didn’t ever think about making it into a career. So I went to community college, did my basics, and applied to nursing school, but things just didn’t work out that way. When it started going south, and things not lining up like they should have, I sat down and rethought what I wanted to do. So I do some soul searching, took some time off, and finally figured out what I wanted to do.


     Since I was a little girl, sitting on my grandmother's kitchen counter, helping her bake, whether it be pancakes, or a cake, I knew baking was going to be my lifelong love and passion. So when that memory came up, that’s when I realized that I could turn that lifelong love and passion into a career. I searched and searched for weeks to find a good culinary school that was close to where I lived, I almost gave up until I found the institute. I did some research, went to a meeting and took a tour. After that, I was hooked.

     Once I started I did my academic classes, did my labs, and learned so much from some pretty amazing people. There were many times where I wanted to quit, to give up and go back to Brenham (which is where my mom lived), but I kept on it, I looked toward the future, and met some amazing and inspiring people along the way. (Heck, if it weren’t for culinary school I would have never gotten out of my shy shell and met my wonderful boyfriend.) Having people around me that loved and supported me along my journey, for sure helped me get through my lowest times of wanting to give up.

     A lot of times I felt like nothing was going right, that the world was against me. But once I got to show my skills and let everyone know what I was made of, things turned around for me. So what I have to say here today is, never give up on what you want to do. And if things aren’t working out for you, change, try something new, do what you love to do. When things weren’t working out for me, I changed and found what I love to do. Be who you want to be, be someone that you like seeing, don’t please everyone else, please yourself first. “Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more: believing in yourself.”

Wilson Mcknight - Graduation Speech

     Where do we go from here? That is a question that is often asked at the end of a journey, and if you are unsure of the answer no matter what you do or where you go, keep moving forward. As our journey comes to an end at The Culinary Institute Lenotre, I challenge all of you to keep moving forward, to keep an open mind, and to never give up.

     To begin whatever is happening in our lives we must keep moving forward. Mrs. Whitney Hill once said picture a car, the front windshield is broad, clear, and vivid to see clearly in front of you representing your future. The rearview mirror is small because it’s used to glance behind you, representing your past. Your past is only used as a reference.

     As Chefs, we must try to avoid living in the past as much as possible. It’s not bad to look back from time to time at lessons and knowledge we have attained, but we

should not dwell there. In order for us to progress we have to walk forward and see where we are going. There is no point of going backwards, we have already been, experienced, and past those points in life.

     Additionally, we must keep an open mind. To my fellow graduates, understand that this is not the end of your learning process, but rather the beginning. There will be many more opportunities to expand your knowledge .Don’t let these opportunities pass you by thinking you know it all. There is always more than one way of doing something. Malcolm Forbes once quoted “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one”.

     Lastly, we must never give up. As we continue our journeys into our careers, know that you are stronger than any obstacle that may appear. Stay vigilant, there will be days you feel as if you can’t go on but in time these days will past. When you feel like you can’t push anymore, buckle down and push harder and you will be surprised with the outcome. Remember, mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. If Mandy Hale was here today she would tell you “never stop trying. Never stop believing, never give up. Your day will come”.

     As I conclude I would like to take this time to not bid you farewell, for farewell seems so permanent. Instead I will say farewell to bad choices, to negative thoughts, but not to you. To you I will say: see you later.  Throughout my speech I quoted some inspirations to myself, and hopefully they inspired you as well. Now I may not be a famous philosopher, or a renowned chef but I would like to leave you with a quote of my own and hopefully it will settle with you. So without further or do, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, in the words of Wilson McKnight “always remember, as soon as the sun sets, it begins to rise”.

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