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Graduation Story

CECP Brings the World of Culinary Arts to Graduate Chih-Yu (Jill) Lee

> Ever since she was five-years-old, Chih-Yu (Jill) Lee, knew she wanted to cook and bake. She was even drawn to those cute erasers that look like food. After leaving her native Taiwan for Queens New York at age three, Jill began weekly baking classes and in middle school, worked to find a summer camp to establish her baking skills.

> Jill relocated with her family to Colorado at age 15 for her father’s job. Her first high school in Colorado wasn’t the best fit and on top of that, didn’t offer culinary opportunities or the flexibility and time for her to continue to pursue this passion. During her summers, she worked to enter the industry, and attended workshops at Boulder’s Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and attended the Career Explorations, Baking and Pastry unit workshop at Johnson & Wales University in Denver.
 
> Jill transferred to Colorado Early Colleges Parker during her junior year of high school and is graduating with 40-50 college credits as well as her certificate in Culinary Arts from Pickens Technical College and a certificate in Food Handling from ServSafe. Jill is also a member of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), an acknowledged leader recognizing outstanding student achievement in career and technical education, and SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.  In fact, Jill won the SkillsUSA state chapter competition and will be competing at the national level in Louisville, Kentucky this June.
 
> How did she get here? Her passion and drive combined with the support of those able to help her achieve her dreams. Jill’s advisor, Jen Rolls, was one person who was able to help Jill meet her culinary dreams. According to Jill, Ms. Rolls was able to help her prioritize her schedule so that she could finish high school while pursuing the right college courses. She was able to complete her core classes early so she could fit in her culinary curriculum.
 
> Jill graduated from Pickens with her certificate on May 21. What are her plans after her graduation from Colorado Early Colleges on May 25? After SkillsUSA nationals in June, Jill will be relocating back to Taiwan in July, and she has already applied to several top culinary schools. Where will she be in the future? Jill’s dream is to learn French and move to Paris to either work for a pastry department in a top-notch restaurant or a patisserie.
 
> We are proud of Jill and her incredible journey. We can’t wait to see where the future takes her - and to taste some of her amazing dishes!