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A.K. Smith Culinary Students Headed to Disney World

A.K. Smith Culinary Students Headed to Disney World
La Porte County CTE students are planning to ‘Cook Around the World’

MICHIGAN CITY, IN – January 13, 2023 — Representatives from Patrick’s Grille stopped by the A.K. Smith Career Center on Friday to present a check for $1,500 to Emmanuel Johnson, a student in the Culinary Arts program, who will use the funds to cover a trip to Walt Disney World later this year.

Johnson is one of nine students from the La Porte County Career and Technical Education Culinary Program who will be participating in the Cook Around the World Competition in April, which takes place in Orlando. According to Mary Koselke, one of two culinary instructors at A.K. Smith, Johnson, who works part-time at Patrick’s Grille, was selected to receive this scholarship to cover his trip fees based on classroom merit.

“Emmanuel is a true leader,” Koselke said. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving to receive this award. He is a shining example of the excellence we hope to see in our students, and he is an outstanding representative of our program.”

There are approximately 60 students enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at A.K. Smith, coming from schools throughout La Porte County, as well as New Buffalo, MI. Koselke said the nine students who were selected for this trip were chosen based on their work in the classroom, work ethic, and leadership.

During the Cook Around the World experience, culinary students will compete against other students from across the country, attend seminars, and meet celebrity chefs, and will also get to attend the Disney theme parks. “This will give us real-world experience creating delicious and beautiful food while we build skills in the profession,” Koselke said. “It will challenge our students and help grow their careers and education opportunities.”

The total cost of this trip for all students will be more than $16,000, but Koselke said her students have been working hard to raise the necessary funds by holding bake sales and give-back events and by offering sponsorships. Patrick’s Grille, 4125 Franklin St., will host a give-back event to raise funds for this trip on Thursday, January 26, with 10 percent of the day’s sales supporting the students.

Anyone wishing to contribute financially to this experience or to the Culinary Arts program can contact Koselke at More information about the program is available at