So after researching different culinary school choices over the past 4 months I have finally made a decision. I attended tours & informational sessions at all of the schools in Vancouver and 2 of them in the valley. Narrowing down to 2 schools was made somewhat easy as ridiculous tuition fees, combined with less-than-desirable administrators, eliminated 1/2 of the prospects. I ended up going in for an interview just before Christmas. As that terms students had just had their graduation the school was empty. As a result I got to spend over an hour speaking with one of the instructors. I was given a tour and was able to have all of my questions answered thoroughly. As the students had just graduated and the school was empty I was given an offer to come back in the New Year for a day to observe the class. I was able to do this today. I don't think I have ever felt so welcome somewhere in my life. All of the instructors were amazing. All of the students were amazing. I learned far more than what I expected to in only one day. Needless to say I submitted my application. The head instructor today told me he I was impressive - I arrived early (even earlier than the students) and was one of the last to leave & took a lot of notes. I will find out within the week if I am accepted. From what I observed my chances are looking very good. They wanted to double check my uniform size and was told that they would mail me their completed portion of my student loan application. I am VERY excited. The last 12 years have been pretty difficult for me & I never could have imagined that an opportunity like this would arise. Now all I have to do is get finalization that my re-training program will now pay 1/2 of my tuition (as they said they would). I am also planning on starting a daily blog while going through culinary school in hopes to help inspire other people who might be going through (or have gone through) some of the same struggles I have. Hoping for some good news soon!