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His dream: explore the world through taste

Your Dream is Our Dream: Emanual 'Manny' Hernandez-Cruz

Editor’s note: Your Dream is Our Dream: Celebrating Student Success brings you conversations with students about their dreams and the educators who ignite and inspire them. In a new series from School News Network, students from all levels of education share in their own words and pictures how learning connects them to achieving their goals and exploring their ambitions. An initiative of Kent ISD, Your Dream is Our Dream showcases student success and how teaching and learning help make dreams come true. 

Godfrey-Lee — Emanual “Manny” Hernandez-Cruz is a Kent Career Tech Center hospitality student and 2021 Lee High School graduate who attends GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.

What is your dream? “To open my own restaurant and to travel around the world and learn about different cuisines and cultures. I love exploring new cultures, new tastes, expanding my palate.”

Manny Hernandez-Cruz recently helped design, bake, transport and serve a wedding cake as part of the Kent Career Tech Center’s culinary program

Manny plans to make his Italy his second international trip – he has been to Mexico – where he’d like to land a job in a restaurant “and just explore the scenery, the pastas, the vineyards.”

Why is this your dream? Though several people in his family have gone into medical fields, “Food has always been a part of my life, ever since I was little,” he said.

How are school and your teachers helping you achieve your dream? Manny’s first thought was of Lee Middle and High School music teacher Kevin “Mr. G” Gabrielse. While Manny once imagined his future would be focused on music, he said Mr. G “sat me down and asked me what I really wanted to do. When I said food, he was the one who inspired me most to go after my goal.”

Manny said all his instructors at the Tech Center have pushed him, but he singled out Jacob Banstra as the one who “got me into this program. He knew I could do more, and I’m thankful for him.”

Explore more unique video stories of students learning, interesting school programs and educators working to help all children succeed.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Kent ISD, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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