Spark Participant Spotlight with Zharia Pierce

Zharia Pierce is a Spark College Student currently attending Johnson and Wales University, where she’s majoring in Culinary Arts and Food/Beverage Industry Management. She was born and raised in Washington D.C, with her four siblings. She joined Spark the Journey in 2019, during her ninth-grade year at McKinley Technology High School.

Why did you decide to get involved with Spark the Journey?

I decided to get involved with Spark the Journey, formerly known as CPE, when I was in ninth grade. My school, McKinley Tech, hosted a meeting one day, which was the beginning of my journey. After learning how beneficial Spark’s program was, I could not pass the opportunity up.

In what ways has Spark the Journey impacted your life?

Spark the Journey has brought me closer to my friends and introduced me to my awesome mentor. I was able to go to fun and eventful meetings through this program that introduced me to new people and helped me get back in touch with others. Meeting my mentor also had a huge impact on my life because she was one of the biggest factors in helping me get to college.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, I’m a big movie person, so I love to watch movies with my friends and family. I also draw and try to paint, along with thinking of ideas for my future food truck. I take time to study for my classes as well.

What’s a dream you would like to achieve?

A dream I would like to achieve is to own my own food truck, selling carnival food/soul food, by age 23. After opening up my truck, I would love to continue my path working in a professional kitchen.

How is your mentor helping you achieve that dream?

My mentor is helping me achieve that dream by keeping me motivated and making sure I stay focused. My mentor was a big help in my attending the college I’m at now which is Johnson and Wales University, where I can enhance my culinary skills by majoring in Culinary Arts. My mentor was able to sit down with me and help me fill out and complete college applications and write scholarship papers.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far in your time with Spark?

The most important thing I’ve learned so far from my time with Spark is that it’s okay to have others around to help you. Spark plays a big role in your academic life and even helps with the personal as well.