By Colin MacDougall
Brooke Vanover is known by her teachers and peers for being a dedicated worker. When her chocolate showpiece collapsed during Sharyl Politi’s advanced pastry class, rather than fall apart with it, Politi remembers Vanover building something just as beautiful out of the broken pieces of her first attempt.
“I thought she would fall apart, instead she came up with another beautiful piece,” Politi said. “It was absolutely gorgeous, out of all the broken pieces. She never gave up.”
Brooke Vanover is a 21-year-old occupational studies major with a focus in culinary arts and hospitality management. She has just completed her program at Washtenaw Community College. Vanover started attending WCC in the fall semester of 2013. She originally moved from Coldwater to Ypsilanti to study here.
Politi, professional faculty of culinary arts, had Vanover in just about every class she teaches.
“Brooke is extremely dedicated to her work, projects and tests,” Politi said.
Vanover found out about WCC through a teacher in her high school’s career center, who finished her masters in hospitality management from Eastern Michigan University. She recommended to Vanover to enroll in WCC’s 3-1 articulation agreement with EMU.
“It really worked out well for me here,” Vanover said. “I think it’s really inspiring everyone as a whole here… everyone is passionate about their own futures and a lot of people came from different backgrounds, so you really learned a lot from other students.”
Alyssa Davis is a 20-year-old baking and pastry arts student from Ypsilanti. Davis has known Vanover for two years and they have spent four semesters in classes together. The two first while both working at Kroger in March of 2014. At the beginning of the winter semester of 2015 when entering the Technical Industrial building Davis saw Vanover in the lobby area.
“I was like ‘Hey’ and we chatted for a minute and then we found out we had the same class,” Davis said. “We didn’t know we were going to school for the same thing. I was very excited to have her with me in classes.”
The two always were in the same group because they worked very well together.
“Brooke is very positive and helpful. She always has something nice to say about people’s work in the classes we took together,” Davis said. “Once I was working on a piece sculpted completely out of sugar, I worked very hard on it, and it was almost finished, but it broke last minute. Even though I was angry and ready to cry, Brooke was there telling me that she would help me put it back together.”
Davis still has another year at WCC before she receives her associate degree in baking and pastry arts. Davis is sad that Vanover won’t be with her in classes next year, yet she’s proud of her friend for graduating.
When Vanover transfers in the fall to EMU her major will be in hotel and restaurant management.
“I’m hoping after I graduate I can get a job at a hotel, restaurant, or resort and work my way into the management system,” Vanover said. “ Later in life I’d like to own my own businesses, like a restaurant, or a cafe. My life goal no matter how ambitious it may sound, is to own my own resort.”