Last month, The Challenge Program, Inc.’s Barbara Grandinetti and Sara Deyarmin ran into a familiar face at the Holiday Inn in Downtown Johnstown – Vince Arnone.
Arnone, a 2007 graduate of Greater Johnstown High School (GJHS), is a Challenge Program alumni award winner who currently works as the banquet supervisor at the Holiday Inn. He has fond memories of his participation in the program. During his high school career, he took home three awards—two for Attendance and one for Most Improved (now known as the Academic Improvement Award).
That final award may have been the most special for Arnone; he recalls earning it for his hard work making honors in his regular academic classes that year as well as high honors in his culinary arts vocational track. “It [The Challenge Program, Inc.] helped me strive for more,” he says.
Reflecting back on his experience, Arnone recognizes how the habits and behaviors emphasized by The Challenge Program, Inc.’s award categories translate into the real world. “What job wouldn’t want to see someone who has perfect attendance?” he asks. And as for academic improvement, Arnone says the award demonstrates an attitude of “never giving up.”
He encourages current students to get involved with the Program. “In high school, you don’t really get opportunities like this,” he says. “The Program definitely proves that there is recognition for high school students and if kids just put in a little extra effort, they can win the same way I did,” he says.
After graduating from GJHS, Arnone attended Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, earning a degree in hospitality management. When applying to jobs after college, Arnone says The Challenge Program, Inc. awards helped him stand out among other candidates.
It was a good starting point for me,” he says. “I’ve used those achievements on many occasions, for portfolios and job resumes I’ve done.” In fact, Arnone says he listed the awards on the very application that landed him a job with the Holiday Inn six years ago.
As banquet supervisor, Arnone’s responsibilities include managing 12 employees. While the job can be challenging, he wouldn’t change a thing. “I couldn’t see myself doing something else,” he says. “I’ve always had a love for food and I’ve always been a friendly person. I just knew at some point I would be working at the front of the house with people.”
As for his future plans, Arnone envisions many possibilities. No matter what he decides to do, one thing is for sure: his positive attitude will help him get there. “I believe I can achieve them [my future goals] if I push myself,” he says.
Congratulations on all of your achievements thus far, Vince. We can’t wait to see what’s next for you!
Meet some of our other alums here, or submit your own story for a chance to be featured on our website!