Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) is excited to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American students who have inspired others and achieved great success in their programs. This week, we are pleased to feature Culinary Arts and Abington Senior High School senior, Reyna Rodriguez.
Reyna is happy to be part of our National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and is proud to be part of the EASTERN Culinary Arts program. To Reyna, celebration of her heritage means culture, family, respect and responsibility. She feels as though her background has made her work hard to achieve her goals because she had such strong role models, especially her mother, whom she credits with teaching her independence, humility, and the importance of reaching your potential.
Reyna has a lineage of Haitian and Puerto Rican. Because of her mother’s Haitian background, Reyna understands some of the French Creole language. Her father’s side of the family resides in Brooklyn, where she visits family several times per year.
Reyna’s cooking style is influenced by both sides of her family. Her love of cooking began at a young age, as she would often be in the kitchen with her grandmother. Reyna started off baking brownies, cupcakes and cornbread, but then ventured into cooking meals for herself. Once her family understood her natural culinary ability, they were placing their orders with Reyna. This summer Reyna spent a lot of time at the grill cooking various meats for her family dinners.
“I am going for my goals and plan to work hard now, and rest later,” said Reyna. “As a senior in the program, I can honestly say that hard work pays off. In the culinary business, you need tough skin and grit. It is fun and rewarding, but it requires a lot of time and commitment. Choosing EASTERN was a great decision!”
Reyna’s goal is to be chosen to apply for the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange program, where she would live and work in Germany for one year after graduation. She is also looking into postsecondary culinary programs at Chestnut Hill College, Montgomery County Community College, Walnut Hill College, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After she completes a two-year culinary program, she would like to travel to different locations, nationally and internationally, and work in the restaurant business to gain experience.