Cortland Henning is a Culinary Arts Associate Degree student at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, WI. Cortland is passionately invested in his family, friends, community and pursuing his culinary career. Cortland was motivated by a lifelong love of cooking and food to pursue his dreams. He describes himself as a “dedicated over achiever.” He works nights at McDonalds while attending fulltime classes, and maintaining high academics for his Promise Scholarship. Cortland’s career goal is to earn his bachelor’s degree in hospitality and open his own restaurant. He is engaged in helping his community through volunteering as an alumni with high school youth in the marching band color guard, and as a leader in MPTC Student Senate and various other College clubs and activities. Cortland is a strong role model of the MPTC core abilities. Moraine Park core abilities are “transferable skills, knowledge and/or attitudes essential to an individual’s success regardless of occupation or community setting.” Cortland demonstrates the core abilities of communicating clearly, collaboration, respect, planning, organizing, listening, modelling, and adapting to change. His dedication to family, friends, school and community speaks to his strong work ethic and solid integrity with a desire to make a difference.
I first realized the hardships and challenges people faced with gender and sexuality equality, when I was in middle school, figuring out my identity. Even then I was faced with challenges. I was pushed into the closet, because I was bullied a lot for “seeming” to be gay. I never wanted to come out knowing that everyone would make fun of me and the fear of what I would face. When I formally came out in eighth grade, I felt as if a huge weight was lifted from my soul. I could finally be myself and not apologize for anything. I wish society could accept everybody for who they are so closeted people can feel free to be themselves and not be silenced by society’s rules. I wish more people could feel what I felt in eighth grade. I really try to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible in order to help them come out. That’s why I really want to reach out to resources like the Fond du Lac Pride Alliance to educate myself and to educate others in order to help people come out. I also dream of making a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at MPTC.