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Elgin grad completes culinary arts degree

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On Saturday, March 23, Serena LaShay Smith, a 2016 Elgin High School graduate, marched across the stage and accepted her Associates of Applied Science in Culinary Arts degree with high honors from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Austin Texas.

During high school, Serena was a competitive athlete in track and field and served as an Athletic Trainer where she quickly became a reliable, skilled support to the football team. She was also a member of the Spanish Club, FFA and the Key Club where she served as chairperson.

After high school, Serena began her post-secondary education at Midland College. She continued her education at the culinary arts institute where she studied and trained in culinary. As part of her schooling, she completed a one-year externship in Aspen, Colorado at the famed Hotel Jerome where she trained under world-renowned chefs. She excelled in her skills there and was offered full time employment at Hotel Jerome. Chef Serena recently decided to return to Austin and is currently employed by one of the only local vegan ice cream businesses in Austin where she uses her culinary skills in creating new vegan recipes and crafting various new flavors for the market.

Serena has now decided she wants to further her education by adding an associate’s degree in pastry and baking. Therefore, she plans to enter the Culinary Arts Institute this fall to add this degree program to her portfolio.