Bright Futures for Student Champions

Plumbing Champion Students
Our plumbing apprenticeship champions, Adam Koenigs (left) and Peter Hollmaier

What a month this has been for our students and recent graduates!  We have had some very impressive “champions” with whom I’ve had the great pleasure to cross paths.  I’ll start with the two FVTC plumbing apprentices who teamed up with two students from MSOE and comprised Team USA in the Community Plumbing Challenge last month in Nashik, India.  These students designed and installed a handwashing facility in a school of 500 children where, essentially, nothing existed before to support sanitation and disease control.  Our apprentices, under the guidance of instructor Randy Lorge, were Adam Koenigs, employed by J.F. Ahern in Fond du Lac and Peter Hollmaier, with S.B.S. Plumbing in Oshkosh.  They returned as world champions of this challenge, technically, but I could clearly see that they gained so much more from this global experience.  They certainly had a “win” in terms of technical application in solving a problem using very primitive available resources, but they also gained an enormous appreciation for what we have here at home and the conditions under which so many people in the world live.  What outstanding ambassadors these two young men were for FVTC, Wisconsin and the United States!

Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame
Laura Johnson-Lachowecki, 2015 national ACF Pastry Chef of the Year

On November 30, I had the pleasure of attending a demonstration in the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Theatre by one of our culinary arts graduates, Laura Johnson-Lachowecki.  Laura is originally from New London, and as part of her degree program, she participated in an internship with the Notre Dame University Food Service (which is an incredible operation), and then subsequently took a full-time position at Notre Dame.  She accomplished an incredible feat last summer, and through a highly competitive process, was named the 2015 Pastry Chef of the Year by the American Culinary Federation—another FVTC student/graduate champion!  It was a pleasure to watch her demonstration, along with our faculty and members of the Culinary Arts Club.

Kate Luloff
Commencement student speaker, Kate Lulloff

Then, student champions crossed our commencement stage by the hundreds on December 5, each successfully completing their associate degree or technical diploma and now ready to contribute to the region’s workforce and begin great new careers for themselves.  Many on that stage had job offers before graduation, including our outstanding student speaker, Kate Lulloff.  Kate, a culinary and hospitality management graduate, has had the opportunity as a student to represent Jones Dairy Farm in doing television appearances on The Morning Blend show in Milwaukee and will soon be joining Milwaukee-based Street Level Food Marketing as a broker, covering a territory that involves all of Wisconsin, the UP of Michigan and northern Illinois.  Another student champion who is excited about her future!

It’s always an honor to greet each graduate during commencement, including Tony Austin, Marine Corps veteran, and his dog, Hadji, at this year’s ceremony.

I am so proud of all these students, each remarkable in their own right.  Their futures look incredibly bright—what do you think?

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