Photography by Sara Reeves | Shot on location at Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute
The 3D Program at Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute combines post-secondary education opportunities with a lot of love and prepares graduates for meaningful employment. The program offers students with “developmental differences,” as director Linda Ducrot says, targeted training for business and industry. The results are extraordinary, she notes, adding that the goal of the program is to “change their self-image and help them realize the workforce possibilities available to them.”
An additional benefit of 3D is the culture it’s created on the entire campus and the transformative power it’s had on people’s perceptions of people with developmental differences, says Linda. “The students have very special gifts and have given a different level of cooperation, love, kindness and gratitude to the institute. They have transformed attitudes of reluctance and fear to gratitude and acceptance.”
Students like John “John Rock” Rockefeller – who participated in the 3D pilot program – provide inspiration to students and instructors, Linda says. “They are steadfast and bring 150 percent effort to the projects, which has influenced mainstream students to increase their own standards.”
We caught up with John, who also answers with high-fives to “Big John,” at the institute to get his take on the program. As a graduate with a technical certificate, John now works with the dining room staff at Capers.
His 3D program favorite was learning about food; both cooking it and how to serve it.
Growing up, John enjoyed making cookies with his mother, Lisenne Rockefeller, and watching his dad, the late Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul “Win” Rockefeller, cook. “He made a good beef stroganoff, too,” John says.
John discovered his love for cooking when he was 15 as an Eagle Scout. “We were learning the best way to cook while camping. Cooking was also my first Eagle badge.”
For other students like John, he would recommend the program because “it helps you learn more about cooking and helps you get a job after graduation.”
At Capers, he enjoys helping the staff in the dining room. “I try to make their jobs easier and I enjoy interacting with customers.”
Taekwondo, golf and reading – especially history books. John’s a third-degree black belt and world champion and would like to become a Taekwondo instructor. He’s in training for that goal now. “I want to teach kids how to take care of themselves.”