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Sodexo and NAACP’s ACT-SO Initiative Award High School Students with Scholarships to the Culinary Institute of America

August 09, 2018

GAITHERSBURG, MD, August 9, 2018 - Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company committed to improving Quality of Life, and NAACP’s ACT-SO initiative (Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics), the civil rights organization’s year-long youth program, held its annual competition with culinary and hospitality high school students last month in San Antonio, Texas. Winners received monetary scholarships to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

Winners include:


  • DeAndra Moore of Dunbar High School in Chicago, IL (Gold); Sheila Mongare of Olathe East High School in Olathe, KS (Silver); and Christian Randall of Gwynn Park High School in Brandywine, MD (Bronze)


  • Kansas City Chapter: Khair Bonsasa and Trevell Walker of Blue Springs High School, Blue Springs, MO and Trinity Lupo of Raytown High School, Raytown, MO (Gold)
  • Houston Chapter: Students of Houston’s Westside High School, Leslie Rubio Garcia, Destiny Johnson, and Triniti Caitlin Charles (Silver)
  • Prince George’s Chapter: Shayla Brickhouse and Tara Coates of Crossland High School in District Heights, MD and Gabriella Barnes of Lincoln Public Charter High School in Marlow Heights, MD (Bronze)

“We are changing lives every day, as our Sodexo Chefs mentor high school students interested in the culinary arts and hospitality fields nationwide,” said Sodexo VP of Global Diversity and Inclusion Lourdes Diaz. “In partnership with CIA and NAACP ACT SO, we are proud to lift the communities we serve, as we provide professional development, educational opportunities, career advancement and recruit our future leaders.”

More than 1,100 students from 200 local communities nationwide participated in 32 ACT-SO competitions in STEM, humanities, business, performing and culinary arts. “Each year NAACP ACT-SO students have an opportunity to expand their horizons through the activities and programming provided by this program,” commented Larry Brown, Jr., National Director, NAACP ACT-SO. “Our partnership with Sodexo and CIA aligns with our mission and provides a platform for professional and educational enrichment. The partnership is a successful and impactful model that creates a pipeline to successful careers for our students. We are pleased to continue this trend of excellence together.”

Sodexo partners with the Culinary Institute of America to provide scholarships to winning students. To date, more than $275,000 in scholarships and educational credit have been awarded to culinary and hospitality students.

ACT-SO was designed to identify, encourage, reward and showcase the academic and artistic achievements of high school students of African descent. ACT-SO provides students with an opportunity to work with professionals in their area of interest. Students receive mentoring and coaching to create and develop individual projects for local competitions. Sodexo and ACT-SO have had a long-standing partnership since 2009 when the idea to develop the Culinary Arts Competition Category was initiated.

About Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. The company employs 150,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $32 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoUSA.com, SodexoInsights.com and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Dasha Ross-Smith, Sodexo, Inc.
301 987 4893

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