Commitment: Chasing a dream
"My family moved to Calgary from Argentina when I was 10 years old. School was hard from the beginning. I needed to learn English and I have a learning disability called dyslexia. I got a lot of help studying from my mom and a tutor.
When I got to high school, I was afraid it would take me an extra year or two to finish, and afraid that I might not be able to get into college. I learned about the SAIT Summer Cooks program on the internet. I applied and got in.
Before I started, I didn't know anything about cooking. At first it was super hard but the chefs were friendly and patient. It takes most students two days to learn a recipe; sometimes it took me two weeks.
Some graduates of the program go out and get jobs, but I didn't just want to work in a fast-food restaurant. I wanted a good career so I applied to SAIT's Professional Cooking program and I got in. I found the theory part really hard, but found the hands-on part in the kitchen a lot better. I finished the professional cooking program in April and I received my diploma in October. My goal is to work as a chef in a big hotel."
Juan Santiago Ghio completed the SAIT Summer Cooks —Introduction to Cooking Apprentice program in 2015. Created in conjunction with the United Way Calgary and Area All In for Youth initiative, the program is aimed at inspiring vulnerable youth who are at risk of dropping out of high school. Santiago is the first Summer Cooks student to continue on to — and graduate from — the Professional Cooking program. He graduated in October 2017.
Without the support of our generous donors, SAIT's success in the last 100 years would not have been possible and our second century would not be as bright.
Please enjoy this special edition of the Donor Report that features first-hand stories from people whose lives were changed through SAIT.