Blog / PJ: A Smiling Success
“PJ is one of those people who leave a positive impression that people remember forever.” Amy Guajardo, Transporter
PJ came to Shepherds College® with a smile and an eagerness to learn. His contagious grin and cheery attitude didn’t come easy. He has poured hard work, sweat, and tears into overcoming incredible obstacles since he was a young child with disabilities living in an orphanage in Thailand. With the loving support of his adoptive American family, he carried that determined attitude into his new experiences at Shepherds College, eager to become the best version of himself while pursuing his fullest potential.
In Culinary Arts class, PJ always tried everything with eagerness. Even if there was a task that wasn’t in his most substantial skill set, he liked to challenge himself to get better at it. His culinary skills improved during his second year at Shepherds College. They got even stronger in his third year while working in the Commercial Kitchen on campus and interning at Chick-fil-A in Pleasant Prairie, WI, and Oakfire Pizza in Kenosha, WI, for his Occupational Experiences (OE).
His OE Supervisors and Job Transporter had wonderful things to say about his growth!
“PJ is a leader among coworkers and peers. He has grown in his leadership skills while remaining someone everyone considers a friend.”
“His culinary and kitchen skills have grown to the point that he understands the flow of the kitchen and rarely has to be told what needs to be done.”
“PJ is someone you can trust. I can leave a task and do something else, knowing he will be doing a good job.”
Chick-fil-A is a very fast-paced kitchen environment which was overwhelming for PJ initially, but the more confident he grew in this environment, the more his supervisors saw him soar. Jason Miley, the owner/ operator, spoke highly of PJ:
“PJ always brought a smile to work that was infectious. I do not state that lightly. If you meet PJ, he can change the dynamic in a room simply with his smile. It is almost like a superpower in that he can take a very stressful environment and defuse it simply with his demeanor and smile. Our team loved working with him and was always excited when scheduled with him. His unique personality and skills will maximize the operations where he works. He is an amazing person and an incredible asset to any team.”
“After college, I would like to get a good job,” shared PJ. “I would love to get a front-of-house job because I love greeting and serving people. Some skills I learned at Shepherds College that I would use at a job are knife skills and making salads (and making them look nice!). I would also like to be a prep cook in a commercial kitchen.” Despite the many challenges PJ has faced in his lifetime, he chooses to demonstrate a positive attitude. He attributes his growth and success to Jesus. With his ever-present smile, PJ said, “Jesus has always taken care of me and put the right people along my path.”
Published in Volume 6, Issue 2 of SOAR Magazine.