Conner's Dream College Fund

$1,350 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 1 month
My Need
I am pursuing an AA degree at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, the #1 ranked culinary school in the nation. The total cost each year, including tuition, supplies, fees, and room and board is $44,000+ per year. With a combination of merit-based awards and scholarships, grants, work-study and taking out the maximum amount of student loans, I am still $14,000 per year short. While my parents can help with some  of this balance, and I also have some in savings, the $8,000 I am requesting in assistance would be enough to get me in the first year. I would still need to find the same $14,000 for next year, and any money beyond my original $8,000 dollar request will go toward my second year.  

If I am going to attend CIA, I will be starting in July because that lowered the initial tuition quote. My hope is to have enough momentium by the end of April to accept CIA's offer.

My Story
I have always been interested in baking, ever since I can remember. When I was old enough participate in the county 4-H I did cake decorating and got better as I went along. As I progressed, I went from just doing 4-H cake decorating over Styrofoam forms to eventually doing commission cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, baby showers, graduations, and my largest commission… a three-tier, fondant wedding cake. I did my first commission cake when I was about 13 years old and my first wedding cake when I was 14 years old.

When my family went on a vacation cruise, naturally I wanted to see the kitchen. The head pastry chef gave me a personal tour and told me about my now dream school, The Culinary Institute of America. When we returned home, my mom and I looked up the college and she contacted one of the professors, Chef Schorner. She told him that I was surpassing her, and that she wasn’t sure how to keep me challenged until I was old enough to graduate. Through many personal phone calls and emails, Chef Schorner has been a mentor to me, and has helped me develop my skills past where I could get them on my own. He also helped me develop my recipes, so I could alter them to improve the taste, rise, texture, etc.

Also, I discovered that The CIA had one-day workshops. After more research and talking with Chef Schorner, I talked to my mom about the classes, and she said she would pay the travel costs, but to prove I was serious, I had to raise the $500 for the class by selling commissions. I was 15 years old, but I really wanted to meet chef Schorner in person. I worked and worked, and sold $500 dollars (after expenses) in cakes in less than one year, met Chef (who got me into the adult course instead of the parent/child course) and attended the Chocolate and Confections class.

With me already in contact with The CIA, I was invited to a college reception at a restaurant called Ocean Prime. Afterward, the executive chef came by our table and visited with my mom and I. He invited me back as an apprentice under their pastry chef.

After a year and a half apprenticing, I am now hired on at Ocean Prime. I drive an hour and fifteen minutes—each way—to work weekends and holidays at the restaurant. I also attend the career center at my school in the culinary program where I have gotten Servsafe certified. I have completed the first-year certification of Prostart, and am working on the completion of the second year.
Last year, to get a perspective on the SkillsUSA competition, I became a member of the SkillsUSA Courtesy Corps. I have competed in many competitions, including Indycooks, where I won for my original crêpe appetizer, and at SkillsUSA, where I place at Regionals and am advancing to State in late April.

I have now been accepted by The Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park to study Baking and Pastries in July. Chef Schorner of The CIA, and Cameron Mitchell, the corporate owner of the Ocean Prime chain, and my parents have been so generous with their faith and support toward my goal. I want to become a baking and pastry entrepreneur, and honor the people who have backed me for so long.   

Thank you for your help. I will make everyone proud.

Some more commissions I did at my self-taught level.

To be the best baker, cake decorator, confectioner, and savory pastry artist, I need to study the rest, and there's no place better than The Culinary Institure of America. Please, help. I want this SO bad!

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The letter of recommend i mentioned in my earlier update has now turned into a $1000 scholarship. So between the scholarship and your support, I am $2000 closer to my goal. I would like to thank everyone that has helped so far. I still have work to do and every little bit helps.
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I got a letter of recommend from Cameron Mitchell from CMR restaurants. https://www.cameronmitchell.com/
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The good news is the I have found many more scholarship to apply for. The bad news is that I won't know the outcome of them until April. Just wanted to know that I am still trying.
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As many of you know from reading or just seeing my GoFundMe, I am need a good amount of money. My hope is to have enough momentum by the end of April, to be able to sign the acceptance letter from the CIA.

Meanwhile, I am still working every Saturday in Indianapolis, and am applying for more scholarships.
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$1,350 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 25 people in 1 month
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Laura Landau
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