Father, daughter help each other earn degrees

By on October 22, 2014

 

Father and daughter Kate Goodwin and Tom Smith graduated from the The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute - Lancaster with matching degrees Aug. 26. It was a proud moment for both after overcoming several obstacles.

Father and daughter Kate Goodwin and Tom Smith graduated from the The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute – Lancaster with matching degrees Aug. 26. It was a proud moment for both after overcoming several obstacles.

A father and daughter from Clay Township have proven that hard work and supporting each other is the key to success.
Kate Goodwin and Tom Smith graduated from The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute – Lancaster, with degrees in culinary arts/restaurant management Aug. 26. And all that came after several obstacles stood in their path, including Smith’s battle with severe social anxiety, depression and agoraphobia, which he sought treatment. Then there was another setback when they lost a term for his back surgery.
“I owe it all to YTI staff and to my daughter for pushing me through,” Smith said.
Goodwin said the adventure started when “I knew I wanted to do culinary and I drug him along with me.”
Smith said he chose the field because he wanted to change his profession.
“Prior to culinary, I was a corrections officer and I thought it was time for a change,” he said. “I cook at home for my family and when she brought the idea to my attention about going to school, I thought sure, why not?”
So, Smith resigned from his job due to personal reasons, became a stay-at-home dad and began pursuing his degree.
Although he had the support of his wife, Angie, and his other children, Jason, 19, and Alexis, 16, the road toward a career change did not go smoothly.
“I was diagnosed with social anxiety and agoraphobia, which is the fear of being outside,” he said.
Smith said during their third term he finally decided to see his counselor at YTI about getting some help for it.
“They referred me to a psychologist in Lititz and I went through a lot of counseling and they ran a battery of tests to bring the anxiety out,” he said. “Once I was diagnosed with it, they had me see my family doctor and he prescribed me the right medication and treatment.
“But more or less during that third term, I had it real bad where I couldn’t leave the house for a week and it created a problem,” he said. “I went from perfect attendance to probation that fast and no one knew what happened to me.”
Smith said he somehow mustered up the courage to leave the house and went to student services to see if they could help him with it because “I had no where else to turn.”
They did, and he said he is “pretty much over the social anxiety now.”
The father and daughter dealt with their next obstacle during the fifth term when Smith had to take time off due to his neck.
“I herniated two discs in my neck, which caused me and my daughter to take that term off because I had surgery scheduled,” Smith said. “Doing that put us back a term so we were not able to graduate with the class we started with so we had to pick up with a fresh class.”
Smith said he was ready to come back right after the surgery but the school and his doctor would not let him.
“I had to just sit around and wait for everything to heal up fully before I could return,” he said, adding the reason Goodwin couldn’t return to school was because she didn’t have a ride to school.
When they were in school, the two worked well together, although there was always some friendly competition.
“In school we had our little friendly competitions,” he said. “Being in the same class together we were always trying to out do each other.
“We always teamed up in the class,” he said. “We were partners in everything.”
“We just always knew how to communicate, even without words,” she said. “We just had to look at each other.”
“Even on the academic end, math wasn’t my strong point and she would help me with that,” he said. “Confidence in the kitchen is where her shortcomings were and I helped her with that. So it was a perfect balance.”
But it’s still competitive, she said. “Yes, very competitive,” he agreed.
And that competitive nature will continue as both are now employed at the Olde Lincoln House.
Goodwin has been at the Lincoln House since May and did her externship there. She is a garde manger and has recently been transitioning to a line cook.
Smith just started and is taking over her job as garde manger, which handles salads, cold appetizers and desserts.
Both have bigger goals in mind.
“Eventually I want to own my own restaurant,” she said, “but I want to get my experience first before I follow that dream.”
Smith has his own dream.
“I want to own a bed and breakfast, abroad, preferably in Ireland because I have family there,” he said. “But for now, I’m just sharpening my skills and am going to learn as much as I can.”
Both want to offer some advice to those who are considering entering the field of culinary.
“Make sure it’s what you want because this is not an easy industry to be in at all,” she said. “It’s long hours, it’s hard work, it’s dedication, it’s passion. If you don’t have those qualities, then it’s not the right field for you.”
“And the other advice would be, if you decide to go to culinary school, just like school, make sure you pay attention and you get the grades and listen to what the instructors have to say because they are definitely there to help you in this career choice,” he said.

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