Jack Lichosik will have a running start this fall when he begins his studies in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program at Fox Valley Technical College. A big running start. The Kimberly High School senior and 2023 Council Scholarship recipient has been cooking with his father Jake in their Appleton home since he was a child.
“Cooking runs in our family,” Jack explains. “My dad has always been in the restaurant industry, and he’d cook a lot of things at home. I always liked to cook at home as a kid.” In some ways, Jack is following in his father’s footsteps. Jake Lichosik started in the dish room, became a line cook, then went on to culinary school and dove straight back into restaurant work. He now manages all the restaurants in the Oneida Casino complex.
Jack has worked 30-to-35 hours per week the past two years at Anduzzi’s Sports Club in Kimberly, first as a dishwasher then quickly stepping up to his current role as a line cook. How has he managed nearly full-time work while attending high school? “I’m up and headed to school at 6 a.m. and wind up going all day to 11 p.m., when the kitchen closes,” Jack says. And homework? “I had a study hall class. Otherwise, I did it on my days off or I fit it in between work. It’s been tiring but I love to work.” Apparently that imposing schedule hasn’t affected Jack’s studies. He’s managed to stay on the honor roll through it all.
That has required a high level of both determination and organization, traits that have served him well in other aspects of his life. “For example, in high school, prior to the start of the school year, I emailed all of my teachers to introduce myself and distribute a letter to each explaining my vision, accommodations, and what they can do to help me succeed,” Jack wrote in his scholarship application essay. “I am determined to help myself by taking responsibility to advocate respectfully so that others know what I need or how they can help.”
His determination to succeed was noticed by his teachers. “Jack is a really strong student who has approached his challenge with a calm demeanor, no complaints, and a firm resolve to achieve and succeed,” says Kimberly High English teacher Julie Reader. “He has taught me so much about perspective and resilience.”
Jack says he owes his determination to his parents. Father Jake helped instill his work ethic and love for the kitchen. His mother, Vicki, has inspired Jack with her own kind of resilience and commitment. A schoolteacher by education and career, she went back to school after Jack’s vision became impaired and became a teacher for students who are visually impaired.”
After a summer of working 40-plus hours per week at Anduzzi’s, Jack says he’s got a lot to look forward to at Fox Valley Technical College. “I’m looking forward to understanding new techniques and different aspects of the industry and to fill in the gaps of things I don’t know,” he says. “I’m also excited to meet the chefs and get hands-on knowledge of different styles of different restaurants.”
Jack is deeply appreciative of the financial help the scholarship provides. “One of my big goals is I don’t want to take out student loans if I can avoid it,” he says. “It’s why I work so much, so I can pay as I go. The scholarship will basically pay for my first semester. All the money I save will go into future semesters.”