Central Piedmont culinary student, Desiree Kinker, has been chosen as the 2019 Central Piedmont commencement speaker. Desiree is a Merancas Technical Careers Scholar as well as a Ruth G. Shaw Scholar.
Desiree Kinker first started at Central Piedmont in 2010. Dealing with the day-to-day college grind can be challenging by itself, but Desiree dealt with another situation many college students don't have to face homelessness.
"I started at Central Piedmont in 2010 and have been homeless almost the entire time," she said. "I lived in a homeless shelter for a year, left college for five years and currently live in transitional housing. I haven't had a place to call my own, so that's why I came back to Central Piedmont, because it truly felt like a home."
Since her return to college, Desiree is confident and making the most of her opportunities. She received two scholarships - Ruth G. Shaw Scholarship and Merancas Technical Careers Scholarship which, according to her, allowed her to "relieve some of my financial fears."
She is enrolled in the college's culinary arts degree program, an active participant in culinary club and a Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) international honor society member. "I chose to resume my studies because I want a better life," Desiree said. "I have been able to interact and learn from mentors and form bonds with female business leaders around Charlotte. The faculty and students here have really had my back and pushed me to be better. I hope to be a light in the darkness for those who may be struggling."
Last year for the first time in the history of Central Piedmont, a student was selected as the commencement speaker. Patsy Montesinos, also a Ruth G. Shaw Scholar, was the 2018 speaker. Patsy is completing her first year at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is majoring in broadcast journalism.
This year's graduation ceremony will be held at Bojangles' Coliseum on Thursday, May 16, at 10 a.m.