Merrillville, Ill. -- Xavier Thompson has his eye on starting his own restaurant someday. The Merrillville High School senior was awarded a $17,000 scholarship from Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, where he will study culinary arts.
In preparing for graduation, Thompson took advantage of the many opportunities MHS offers through its CTE (College and Technical Education) Pathways. He completed culinary arts classes, like nutrition and wellness; earned certifications, like ServSafe and culinary arts; and even received college credit through dual credit courses with Ivy Tech that will give him a jump start in the industry and Johnson & Wales.
His love of cooking started even before his high school career.
“One day I was cooking with my grandmother, as I had done before, multiple times,” Thompson said. “I started to realize I kind of like doing this. I like it a lot. I like making food.
“As I got deeper and deeper into it, I came to realize I could do this as a career,” he added.
He said Johnson & Wales University, where he will earn a bachelor’s degree, was his first choice. Thompson said he looks forward to learning how to make dishes from different cultures and participating in an externship at a place like Disney or another big restaurant that makes a lot of money.
“Xavier is a bright young man that can do anything that he sets out to do,” said Patti Tubbs, MHS culinary arts educator. “I see him working in the hospitality industry in a managerial capacity with his drive, dependability and intelligence.”