Baking and Pastry Arts Graduate Honored for Re-Entry Success

Jamie Poteat had an incredible spring this year. She graduated with her Baking and Pastry Arts degree in May, got married and honeymooned in Paris shortly thereafter. The previous month she was honored by the Buncombe County Re-Entry Council for her successful transition from prison to community.

Jamie fought a drug addiction for 15 years. “To me, it is what I went through that has made stronger in my life,” she said. “All my life, I was in and out of trouble. I barely graduated from high school. Now I’ve been clean almost 10 years.”

Jamie credits the Re-Entry Council and A-B Tech with much of her success. “The council helped me a lot. They were a part of my life for two and a half years. I took my first four classes with A-B Tech instructors the year before I got out. They do a lot with helping people. The award was recognition for people that have gotten out and become self-sufficient and productive members of society,” she said.

A-B Tech’s Baking and Pastry Arts program seemed a natural fit for Jamie.

“I’ve always wanted to bake. I grew up learning how to cook with my grandmother, but I was getting into all the trouble,” she said. She had a Paris themed bakeshop for her capstone project.

Jamie expressed that Chefs Christina Harley, Charles DeVries, and Brownen McCormick were supportive and made her class time at A-B Tech great. However, Chef Vince Donatelli, especially made an impact. “He has been an inspiration to me on so many levels. He’s seen me grow from when I first started school. I was hard to handle when I first got out of prison with my temper,” she said.

The years spent earning her degree weren’t easy and for the first semesters, Jamie had to either ride the bus or walk to school because she couldn’t afford to get her driver’s license re-issued to her. “No matter what your background is and whatever you are going through, you can make it,” she said.