Working hard: Lucky Keodoungdy’s path to success
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Working hard: Lucky Keodoungdy’s path to success

Lucky Keodoungdy, a recent graduate of the Alaska Job Corps Center’s Culinary Arts program, always has something positive to say to those around him. He not only inspires with his words, but he encourages others by modeling the attitude, work ethic and motivation needed to succeed in life. He recently proved that ability to succeed by securing a job in the culinary arts field at the Primrose Retirement Home in Wasilla before he left Alaska Job Corps.

At the Alaska Job Corps Center, Lucky immediately realized he needed to buckle down and work hard towards his ultimate goal in life: to live independently by securing and maintaining a successful career.

“It was up to me to get as much as I could from the program,” says Lucky. “I took advantage of the many opportunities at Alaska Job Corps. I stayed after class, I went to Study Hall, I listened to suggestions from my instructors and I feel that all of this helped me succeed.”

Always determined to do well, Lucky knew that he needed to develop his academic skills. He was never afraid to ask for help and so he approached Alaska Job Corps’ academic staff for recommendations on how to improve. He listened to those suggestions, and went above and beyond the Center’s already high expectations. As a result, by the time he graduated, he had made absolutely remarkable gains in the academic areas of literacy and numeracy.

At Alaska Job Corps, Lucky did what he does best: he worked hard and stayed positive.

In the Culinary Arts trade, he truly appreciated the help and training he received from his instructor, David Williams. Lucky says that Williams, or “Chef,” passed on his knowledge to his students to continually help them grow. Chef emphasized success at all times, whether it was by teaching the vital “soft” skills needed for excellence in the workplace or by imparting his expertise in culinary arts trade skills. Lucky says that he learned the importance of professional skills like timeliness, attendance, attitude, appearance and the value of coming to work ready to work hard. The trade skills were invaluable, and Lucky loved preparing and serving food for special events both on-Center and off. These skills all resulted in Lucky finding a good job.

“Lucky has a true desire to do well, works hard and always maintains a positive attitude,” says Williams. “While Lucky says it can take him longer to learn, his desire and work ethic demonstrated almost the opposite. Lucky would be someone I would enjoy working with.”

Alaska Job Corps did not just offer Lucky the academic and vocational training he needed to succeed, but Center staff worked with him to find the right job and secure it. Like all Alaska Job Corps students, he received training in developing a resume, improving his interview skills and how to be professional at all times. He searched for jobs while at the Center, and, ultimately received two job offers before finishing the program.

Lucky learned to work hard because life has not always been easy for him. At seven years old, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. After having an operation to remove the tumor and undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, he had to relearn nearly all of his cognitive skills. Although the cancer did not return, Lucky faced an uphill battle and the challenge of again learning how to read, how to do math and more.

“I had to push myself to get back on my feet and school was difficult,” he says. “I had to work extra hard to succeed.”

With the help of his family and the community of Kodiak, where he was raised, Lucky earned his diploma and his driver’s license before coming to Alaska Job Corps.

“It still takes me longer to learn, but I want everyone to know that hard work will get you somewhere,” he added.

Lucky has advice for all students at Alaska Job Corps. He says they need to develop the motivation and dedication to do well. Students need to concentrate on achieving their goals and remember that they came to the Center to make their lives better. He says that students need to stay focused and avoid any drama or outside influences that could distract them from reaching their goals.
“There are so many opportunities at Alaska Job Corps. Remember, the staff is there for you. Use them,” he says.

And, of course, always positive, inspiring and a model of success, Lucky says, over and over again: “Don’t forget to work hard.”

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