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Greg Mezey

Greg Mezey JVS Was A Recipe For Success For Cornell University Student

Greg Mezey, Culinary Arts, Class of: 2005
Although many Lorain County JVS students attend college after graduation, Greg Mezey, 20, may be the first to attend an Ivy League school, and he proudly credits the Lorain County JVS as the recipe for his success.

“A lot of people think going to a JVS is the end of the road, but it was a springboard for my college career,” Mezey said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t gone to the Lorain County JVS first.”

Through a series of good decisions – which started in the JVS Culinary Academy – he has landed in Ithaca, New York. There he attends Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. In May 2009, Mezey expects to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in hotel administration and hospitality management.

Not bad for a kid whose own family questioned whether he should even attend the JVS.

Mezey, of Avon, was smitten with the desire to become a chef when he first began washing dishes at a local caterer. He eventually began working at Nemo’s Grille in Avon, bussing tables. One night, when the cook literally walked out, Mezey volunteered for the position. “How hard can it be?” he recalled, remembering his colleague’s laughter. “It’s just salads and desserts, right?”

After one weekend’s stint as a cook, Mezey was hooked and decided to enroll in the JVS Culinary Arts Program.

“My dad was all for it,” Mezey says. “He told me that if I really wanted to do this as a career I should find out as soon as possible if it was the right career path to follow.”

His mom’s opinion? Well, that was another story.

Mrs. Mezey, being the conscientious mother that she is, visited the JVS and grilled the culinary crew with dozens of questions. What classes would he be taking? What were their credentials? What about college preparatory classes along with the vocational skills?

She liked what she saw, and her future ivy-leaguer began his junior year of high school at the JVS.

“My parents and guidance counselor helped me make sure I had all the necessary college-prep requirements to attend any college I wanted,” stated Mezey. “I enrolled at the JVS knowing that if it wasn’t challenging enough for me, I could return to Avon High School after two weeks. During those two weeks I realized that the challenges were just beginning!”

Greg wasted no time getting involved with many school activities at the JVS. He joined the Vocational Youth Club Council (similar to student council) and became the group’s president. He was also president of Rotary Interact, a service organization branch of Rotary International. He made top grades and his culinary team won 2003 and 2004 state and national honors in the ProStart National Management Knowledge Bowl, a competitive event similar to Academic Challenge for those entering the restaurant and hospitality industry.

After graduation, Mezey continued to chart his career course by entering the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and earned an Associate Degree in culinary arts. Halfway through his degree Cornell announced a partnership allowing many of his credits to transfer. He suddenly found himself in the Ivy League where he’s eagerly devouring classes in organizational behavior, financial accounting, collective bargaining, hotel operations and microcomputing.

“I never thought I would find myself at Cornell,” he said, almost amazing himself.

But he never forgets his roots. ”At the JVS, students have an opportunity to
mature,” affirmed Mezey. “You get a different education than you get at a traditional high school and it’s a place where you have the opportunity to grow up. I think everyone could benefit from a vocational education.”

“If you have a future career in mind and you combine what you’ve learned at your home school with the skills you can learn at the JVS, I believe you can create the best possible high school education for yourself anywhere in the country,” continued Mezey.

Strong words from a young man who dreams someday to link his love for food with the hospitality industry to create memorable experiences for the customer. “My ultimate goal is to own a hospitality group,” stated Mezey. “I want to buy high-end properties and operate luxury boutique hotels which will include wine bars and bistro style restaurants.”

“My experience at the Lorain County JVS has not only taught me culinary skills, but the life skills I need to accomplish these goals,” continued Mezey. “The doors to my future in the food service industry were opened before I even graduated from high school. The JVS provided a strong foundation for my future.”
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The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs and activities, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. © 2022. The Lorain County Joint Vocational School District. All Rights Reserved.