COLUMBIA — Dahnya Rogers, 18, thought she was going to be a doctor, but changed her mind when she discovered cooking.
"I love all that stuff, but it's not something I'm passionate about, and cooking is," Rogers said.
While working on a school assignment, Rogers, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, learned about the Culinary Arts program at the Columbia Area Career Center.
The program consists of three classes. Students start by learning basic cooking skills, and then have the option to move on to a more advanced cooking class or to learn about baking and pastry arts.
Even though Rogers has completed the culinary courses, she currently attends the baking and pastry class, as well as a culinary independent study course.
"I wanted to continue on with my learning," Rogers said.
Rogers, along with two other students, drew up a syllabus of what they wanted to do for the independent study class. The students do a lot on their own, Rogers said. One activity they planned involved a simulation of working in a restaurant. The girls created a menu for guests to choose from and prepared food as it was ordered.
Rogers started her own catering business, Party Treats and Sweets, with her mom last year after doing some small events. Rogers said she is thankful for the program and the experience that it has given her to further her dreams.
"Without (the program), I wouldn’t be going into the culinary field," Rogers said.