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My GRCC Story: Bertha Plancarte Fanfar says GRCC Foundation scholarship helped her find success in culinary education

Jan. 3, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Parents often get more free time as the kids get older. For Bertha Plancarte Fanfar, this was her opportunity to finally pursue a long-held goal: a college degree.

“I am the mother of three beautiful children, so I had to pause my dream of finishing a degree many times to be with my kids,” she said. “I don’t regret it because seeing them grow has been amazing!”

Plancarte Fanfar emigrated from Mexico 14 years ago. Thanks to her hard work in ESL classes, she’s now fluent in two languages. 

“While growing up in Mexico, my mother, sisters and I were the cooks of our household, and we had to cook for 11 people every day,” she said. “My parents also owned a small bakery, and that’s where I found my love for everything and anything related to the culinary industry.”

Plancarte Fanfar received a GRCC associate degree in Culinary Arts, but she’s not done yet. She is now in the Personal Chef program and plans to complete the Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate by fall 2022.

She calls enrolling in GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education “the best decision I could ever make,” and plans to work in the food industry for a few years before opening her own restaurant and bakery.

Plancarte Fanfar has been helped by the Edith Bishop and Ester Arlene Ranke Hospitality Education Scholarship and recently had a unique opportunity to show her appreciation. David and Michelle Bottrall established the scholarship in honor of Michelle’s grandmothers.

She assisted Chef Werner Absenger, program director for the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, with a cooking demonstration for a meeting of the Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall Foundation board at GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center.

“Since the first time I started studying here, I felt welcome,” she said. “The college has a friendly and inclusive environment. My professors are beyond my expectations; they are always supportive, professional, and their knowledge amazes me all the time!”

The GRCC Foundation is accepting applications for scholarships now. Filling out one application connects you with hundreds of scholarship opportunities. To learn more -- and apply -- follow this link:

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