Thursday, May 22, 2014

Uptown Graduates:
Class of 2014

In our industry, a large percentage of our employees are from both the high school and college segment of the community. This is where a lot of us in the industry began and - for some of us - have never chosen to leave.

The restaurant industry is a wonderful start to a child's working career, and many working professionals believe that everyone should try their hand at it. Life lessons are learned in what may be a short time.  A lot of kids, myself included, have started their working careers as bussers or dishwashers. Statistics have shown that our industry is excellent for young men and women to mature in.

This time of year, we find ourselves congratulating and sometimes saying goodbye to a lot of younger staff. Over the course of their time here, we have watched them grow and become an integral part of our team.  Although some may head off to college in new cities, others will get their college careers started here in our area attending IVCC. Whichever direction they choose, they will always have a job here. 

Here is to the Uptown Grill 2014 Graduating Class! We wish you all the luck in the future!

Marissa Mitchell
Marissa has been a part of our team for almost 2 years now. She started as a busser and with hard work and dedication assumed hostess responsibilities. She will be graduation from L-P and is her class's valedictorian. While attending L-P, she was very involved with band and Renaissance Club. She played the piano in marching band and jazz band. She also played oboe in concert band where this past January, she was selected to attend the ILMEA All State Festival and play in the All-State Orchestra. Aside from the band, she received the Songs of the American Revolution Award for Outstanding Citizenship. This fall Marissa will be attending Loyola University to study Biology or Physics. She plans to continue on to medical school.

Hailey Backes
Hailey started out as a busser here at the Uptown, and she, too, worked her way up to hostess. Hailey has been a hard worker for us and has put in some pretty busy weeks for us at the helm of the front desk crew. Hailey will be graduating from L-P, and we hope to have her around for a few more years. She has decided to start at IVCC in the fall before transferring to a university to study Occupational Therapy. Hailey was a 4-year member of the L-P tennis team. 

Katherine Kazynski

Katherine, or "Kat" as many people may know her, has been a part of our busser crew since 2012. She also has been working her way up to be a part of our hostess team. Over the last year or so, she has become a very universal part of our crew. From bussing, hostessing and expediting, to helping serve banquets, she has been involved in it all. Kat graduates from L-P and also plans to attend IVCC in the fall. She has been a 4-year member of the L-P tennis team. Ryan and I have been trying to take on both Hailey and Kat in a doubles tennis game for a while now. They are pretty good. For some reason or another, something always comes up where we cannot make it... wink, wink....I'm pretty sure Ryan and I are afraid to lose.
Nathan Morell
Nate has been one of our dishwashers for the last year. He has been a dedicated employee that handles the behind the scenes dirty work of keeping our dishes clean. Nate will be graduating from L-P and has been a part of their bowling team for all 4 years. This fall he will be attending Joliet Junior College in order to study the Culinary Arts. The Uptown must have rubbed  off on him a little. We hope he becomes successful and maybe in the future comes back to our kitchen as a certified chef.

Michaela Mundjano

MIcheala has been a part of our bus crew for just under a year. In that time, she has mastered the position to be everywhere at once, as a lot of times that is what the job seems like. She will be graduating from L-P where she has already completed 26 hours at IVCC on the college level. She was a part of Marquette's fall play. She will be pursuing her CNA certificate this summer before continuing on her Associate's at IVCC. Her future plans include furthering her education to obtain a BSN at Northern Illinois University or Southern Illinois University. 

Emily Haage
Emily is fairly new to our server team. While attending Northern Illinois University and working part time, she has been one busy woman. She will be receiving her BS in Health Science with an emphasis in Rehabilitation Services this spring. Her future goals include working with individuals who have disabilities, volunteer work in the community, participating in 5K runs and working to earn her Master's in Occupational Therapy.

Mickey Victor
Mickey has pretty much grown up at the Uptown Grill. She has had 2 other sisters and a brother all work for us as well. Needless to say, it is always nice having one of the Victors on staff. Mickey started off as a busser and worked her way up to be a server. She graduated Cum Laude from North Central College with a BA in Psychology. In the fall, she plans to start the master program at Aurora University in Clinical Social Work with a concentration in healthcare. Mickey is the last of the Victor kids to pass through our staff... until the grandkids are old enough.

Jeff Boyd
Jeff has been one of the most dedicated employees that the Uptown Grill has had. Give or take a year or two. "Boyd" has been with us for over 20 years. He has left and come back on several occasions. Some times it was to try different fields, other times, to get a break for the restaurant industry. Either way, we have always kept an open door for him and accepted him back whenever he wanted or needed his job as a cook. Over the course of the last few years, Jeff has decided to better himself by going back to college and studying Renewable Energy Wind Technology at IVCC. The classes focused on electricity, energy transmission, safety, logic, motor and controls. Jeff was recently hired as a full-time wind turbine technician in Oklahoma. He will be performing 225 hours of technical work that will complete his internship. Once completed, he will receive a Wind Turbine Technician Certificate from IVCC. Jeff hopes to continue to learn more on renewable energy and attend classes with a focus on business management, administration and renewable energy law. His ultimate goal is to own a wind farm.

For some, we will still be seeing them every day as they start their college careers locally. For others, we hope to see you as a customer in the future. For everyone, thank you all for your dedication and hard work for us. Congratulations, and good luck in all that you do!

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