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SC Governor Presents SCC Student with Tourism Award

March 1, 2022 by Colton Grace | SCC | 2022news

SC Governor Presents Tourism Award
Gov. McMaster present SC Student Tourism Award to SCC Culinary Student, Mark Stidham.

Spartanburg, SC - Today, Spartanburg Community College is proud to announce that SCC Culinary Arts student Mark Stidham is a recipient of the 2021 South Carolina Tourism Student Award and a $1,000 scholarship check, sponsored by the South Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition. The award recognizes outstanding students from the state’s colleges and universities taking part in the state’s various tourism-related academic programs.  
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster presented Mark with his award at a ceremony Monday night at the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, SC. 
"Mark is an amazing student that is always excited for class and eager to learn new culinary techniques," said Chef Amy Loyless-Byers, Director of the Culinary Arts Program at Spartanburg Community College. "Mark is a perfect example of what SCC offers our community. He is a true team player in the kitchen and will be an incredible asset to any future kitchen."
For twenty-two years, Mark worked as a bankruptcy paralegal but recently decided the time was right for a career change. He decided to take advantage of SCC’s free tuition program and enrolled in the Culinary Arts certificate program. After discovering a newfound passion for culinary arts, and at the urging of his instructors, he recently changed over to the degree program. 
"I originally wanted to study medical laboratory technology, but I felt I was instead being led to culinary arts," Mark said. "After winning this scholarship and learning that tuition will be free for the next year as well, I feel nothing but blessings and affirmation that this is where I am meant to be."
"The culinary program is amazing," Mark continued. "The availability of highly knowledgeable and quality chefs that are eager to share their knowledge is outstanding. Chef Byers and Chef Bez have a unique rapport with the students that makes learning exciting and easy to retain. They are incredible assets to SCC."
Upon graduation, Mark aims to become an executive chef for a fine dining restaurant and, as he reaches the sunset of his career, he hopes to run the kitchen for a school or summer camp.
"Mark’s story is one shared by so many of those who are currently enrolled across our five campuses,” said Dr. Michael Mikota, President of SCC. "The free tuition program has presented a life-changing opportunity to thousands of individuals in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties and beyond to change the course of their life and their careers – at virtually no cost. In receiving this award, Mark serves as the embodiment of our motto: Dream “It, Chase It, Live it.'"