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Maria Rivera Navarro


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I really love cooking, art, and baking, and my big goal is to become a pastry chef and open my bakery someday. Even though I've been diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, I'm extremely determined to follow my dream. These labels don't define what I can do or hold me back. Instead, they motivate me to do well in the culinary world, where I can mix my artistic side with my passion for making yummy pastries and desserts. I believe that with hard work and not giving up, I can turn my passion into a job I love and make my bakery dreams come true.


Commonwealth Charter Academy

High School
2018 - 2024


  • Desired degree level:

    Associate's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:


    • Dream career goals:

      Pastry Chef

      Joieful Connections Scholarship
      I've had a passion for cooking and baking ever since I can remember. It's not just about preparing meals; it's about crafting something that brings joy to others. That's why, once I finish high school, I plan to attend culinary school to transform my love for cooking into a lifelong career. Cooking isn't just a hobby for me; it's a way to make people happy through delicious food. Living with Autism and ADHD has its challenges. Sometimes, it's hard for me to concentrate, and I can get overwhelmed in certain situations. However, I believe these unique traits can also be my strengths in the culinary world. My Autism makes me really detail-oriented – I notice flavors, textures, and smells that others might miss. This attention to detail is important when you're making pastries. My ADHD is a source of creativity. I often come up with new ideas and solutions, which can be extremely useful in a field that's always changing. For my education, I plan to attend a culinary school with a good pastry arts program. I want to learn everything about baking, from the basics to advanced techniques. I also want to understand food safety and kitchen management to be well-prepared for the culinary industry. After finishing my culinary education, I'm wholeheartedly chasing my lifelong dream of becoming a pastry chef and, down the road, starting my bakery. My dream is to make desserts that not only taste amazing but also look beautiful. What I want is to bring happiness to people's lives through my sweet creations, one treat at a time. But I don't want to stop there. I want to help and support aspiring chefs, especially those with Autism and ADHD, like me. I believe sharing my journey can inspire others to follow their culinary dreams, no matter the challenges they face. My goal is to break stereotypes and show that people with Autism and ADHD can succeed in the culinary world and beyond. In conclusion, my plan to pursue culinary education is driven by my love for cooking and my determination to succeed, despite my Autism and ADHD. I want to become a skilled pastry chef, open my bakery, and help others with similar dreams. With hard work, dedication, and support from those around me, I'm confident I can make a significant impact in the pastry arts and change perceptions about neurodiversity in the culinary industry.
      Individualized Education Pathway Scholarship
      Facing challenges in school because of my ADHD and Autism has been a part of my life. These difficulties sometimes make learning a bit harder for me compared to my friends. However, I've come up with ways to deal with these issues, and my determination to keep learning is what keeps me moving forward. One big challenge I encounter is staying focused in class. ADHD makes it tough to pay attention for long. My mind tends to wander, making it hard to understand what the teacher is saying. To address this, I've worked closely with my teachers and parents to figure out what works best for me. I sit at the front of the class to avoid distractions, break down assignments into smaller steps, and take short breaks to help me stay on track. It's also crucial for me to have a quiet and organized place at home where I can concentrate on my homework. Social interactions have been another challenge because of my Autism. It's not always easy to understand social cues or make friends. Over time, I've learned to be patient with myself and others. I've attended social skills groups where I get to practice and improve my interactions with peers. Sometimes, it might take me a bit longer to understand what someone is saying or to express myself, and that's perfectly okay. Managing my time and staying organized can also be a struggle due to my ADHD. Planning and remembering tasks can be a challenge. To tackle this, I use simple tools like calendars and to-do lists to keep track of assignments and deadlines. My parents help me establish routines and provide reminders, which are incredibly helpful in maintaining order in my daily life. Despite these challenges, my motivation to continue my education is unwavering. I have a strong desire to learn and grow. I'm naturally curious about the world and eager to explore new ideas. Education serves as the pathway for me to satisfy this curiosity and gain the knowledge and skills I need to follow my interests and achieve my goals. Furthermore, I'm fortunate to have a solid support system. My family, teachers, and friends stand by me and provide encouragement and assistance when necessary. They believe in my abilities and are always willing to lend a hand during difficult times. Knowing that I have people who genuinely care about my success motivates me to keep going, even when things get tough. In addition to this, my personal achievements are a significant source of motivation. When I put in hard work and see positive results, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. It reminds me that I can overcome challenges and succeed in my education. In conclusion, dealing with ADHD and Autism has brought challenges in my education, but I've found ways to cope with them. Simple strategies like staying organized, seeking support, and being patient have been crucial. My motivation to continue my education stems from my curiosity, the support of my loved ones, and the satisfaction I derive from my accomplishments. I am confident that with determination and the right tools, I can continue to learn and grow, overcoming any obstacles that come my way.
      Michael Passanita Memorial Scholarship
      Cooking and baking have always been close to my heart, sparking a deep passion for the culinary arts. These pursuits go beyond mere hobbies for me; they're my way of expressing creativity and my love for food. Making delicious dishes and treats brings me immense joy, which I've been lucky to share with my close friends and family. But my dream is to share this joy with a wider audience, and culinary school is the logical next step in my exciting journey. Through formal training, I aim to improve my cooking skills, learn new techniques, and gain valuable knowledge. This journey isn't just about making better food; it's about the potential to bring happiness and satisfaction to more people. I aspire to create memorable meals for folks from all backgrounds, letting them enjoy the flavors and aromas that have always brought happiness to my loved ones. The idea of going to culinary school fills me with excitement and anticipation. It's more than a personal goal; it's a way to make a lifelong dream come true. The chance to learn from experienced chefs, explore various cuisines, and refine my skills in a structured environment is thrilling. It's an opportunity to take my passion to the next level, improve my techniques, and explore the endless possibilities in the culinary world. I picture myself in a busy kitchen, alongside a diverse group of aspiring chefs, all driven by a shared love for food. Together, we'll chop, sauté, and bake our way to becoming culinary masters. The classroom will become my testing ground, where I'll experiment with ingredients, flavors, and presentations, always pushing my creative boundaries. I'll absorb knowledge like a sponge, from basic skills to plating, and dive deep into the rich history and culture of food. Culinary school represents not only personal growth but also a path to a rewarding career. With the skills and knowledge gained from formal training, I see myself working in respected restaurants, crafting dishes that leave a lasting impression on diners. But my ambitions go further than the restaurant kitchen. I dream of creating my own bakery, writing cookbooks, and maybe even launching my line of gourmet products. The opportunities are vast, and culinary school is the foundation upon which I plan to build my culinary career. In the end, my goal is to share the joy and satisfaction that great food brings with a broader audience. I want to create experiences that tantalize taste buds, bring back memories, and leave a lasting impact on people's lives. Food has the power to connect, comfort, and inspire, and I'm eager to use that power to its fullest.