What’s Right With Our Schools: Hutchings College and Career Academy gives students work experience before graduation

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Hutchings College and Career Academy is offering Bibb County students job experience right before they walk across the stage.

Dr. Cassandra Washington, Executive Director of Career Technical Agriculture Education says, “Students are having real world experience by front of the house and back of the house.”

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From handling pots and pans, to preparing 4 course meals, Bibb County high school students are getting a sneak peak of what it’s like to become a chef.

Azaria Oliver, 11th grader at Southwest High School adds, “It’s engaging, helpful,and worth it. Everything is worth it.”

Compass Rose Cafe is located on Hutchings College and Career Academy campus. It opens up every Friday to serve people living in the community. Culinary arts pathway students work at the cafe and prepare meals. Students in the hospitality and tourism pathway provide the service.



Washington explains, “One of the key components that you hear from employers is that students are lacking soft skills. That is the communication and the able to interact and network. So, allowing students to actually participate in the culinary arts cafe’ allows students to gain skills that can be utilized in any profession.”

Executive Chef Stuart Hardy says,”They’re speaking well, they’re not using slang. They’re asking, they are using the please, the may, the can I(s), they’re having to show up on time and in uniform.”

The hands on experience reinforces what students learn inside of the classroom. For some, it gives them a vision for their future.

Oliver adds, “I want to open my own restaurant and so it’s preparing me for when I’ll be working in the kitchen hearing the loud commands, the hoods, the heat, the stress it is in the kitchen and working with others.”

Hardy explains, “We’re trying to give them a real depiction of what this industry is and what options they have out there.”

This is the second year compass rose cafe’ has been open. Culinary arts students finish the pathway in one year. After completion of the program, they receive college credit and are serve-safe certified.