SGA President Cheyane Verran isn’t too familiar with days off. She is well on her way to earning her degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, adding it to her collection of three other associate degrees. So, yes, she stays busy and that’s how she likes it.
“I don’t sleep very much,” she said. “I’m just on the go, I never stop.” Cheyane, who celebrated her 21st birthday this summer, earned her Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management degrees from A-B Tech and an Associate in Arts from when she was a dual-enrolled student at her high school in Hickory.
As President of the Student Government Association, Cheyane sits on the A-B Tech Board of Trustees. She competed on the student culinary competition team in 2019 when they made it the Nationals in Orlando.
The coronavirus pandemic quashed her plans to compete as student chef of the year for the American Culinary Federation in 2020 but has kept the optimism going that one day it may happen.
“The team is actually the reason I chose A-B Tech over other culinary schools near where I am from,” Cheyane said. “The goal was to compete. This is more than I ever thought I could get out of college.”
With her degree in Hospitality Management, she works as the Mountain Tech Lodge manager, Monday through Thursday evenings. She also makes about 500 macarons a day at Old Europe Pastry. “Macarons are good, but I don’t like making them all the time,” Cheyane said, laughing.
She comes from a family that encouraged her passion in the kitchen. “My grandmother got me interested in culinary and mom was a bakery manager for most of my life,” she said.
“I want to stay with company I am with,” she said. “Eventually I want to have my own business. That’s why I went through all the programs so I could expand on all aspects of the hospitality industry.”
Cheyane made sure she took a class with Chef John Hofland before he retired. “I wanted to have his class even though he intimidated me. People who didn’t get to have him as an instructor really missed out on the experience here,” she said.
When Cheyane started at A-B Tech she didn’t know there was a Student Government Association. “Then I learned more and I wanted to be bigger than part of one club. I wanted to be more to the student body as a whole than just as individual.”
For her fellow students, Cheyane has this advice. “Life is never too short to have fun and live a little. Stay true to your passions in life and get the education you want. Your advisors are there to help you as well as your teachers.”