Feature Story: Directing more than catering

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OPELIKA, ALABAMA: Antonio Dewayne Simmons, age 28, is about to start on a new adventure in his life – one that will take him beyond his home state of Georgia – even if it is just next door. Where many people would be nervous, Antonio is not.

In fact, the 2009 graduate of the Bleckley County High School in Cochran, Georgia, is determined and ready.

Antonio has accepted the position of director of catering for the historic college, Tuskegee University after 13 years of working with Sodexo Catering in Georgia. “I really didn’t go looking for the job … they contacted me.”

He has seen and achieved a lot of success through his career and experiences – and Antonio Simmons has become a household name in the state of Georgia where events and catering need to be done.

Antonio just smiles humbly and confidently. Coming from his childhood days of watching “the Food Network, and checking out the holiday baking shows, and viewing Paula Deen and others every Saturday” and watching his great-grandmother and grandmother in the kitchen, he knew that he was going to either into healthcare or food services.

For those who know Antonio and know his story, they will understand when Antonio just smiles and talks about coming from where he comes from and overcoming things. His story is so much more fuller than what we are sharing here. People laugh and say, he directs more than catering … he directs his life path and helps others too.

When Antonio was in elementary school, he was a good student and did well. “I was a gifted student, and then I moved to middle school, and all that changed.”

He said, “All of a sudden, they are telling me, after doing some testing, that I had a learning comprehension block … a comprehension disability … and I was going to start having to go to learning support classes.”

He concluded with his definition of hope – “Hope is me. All people need to do is look at what I have overcome and the things I have accomplished, and see what has happened to me … I have a learning comprehension block, and here I am planning events and working with logistics.”

Once Antonio was at an event, and someone came up to him to compliment him on his ‘walk.’ Antonio told the story with a laugh, “I was like in my mind, what are you hitting on me or what?”

Then, Antonio paraphrased the conversation. “This person told me that I just had this walk of confidence and determination … they said you know people come to you, talk to you and bring you the problems ,and you have no fear … you just work through it, and take care of it. Keep on walking that walk.”

And that is a good place to stop. Keep walking your walk. What a good news story! Best wishes in Alabama, Antonio!

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Author: rlhwrites

Curator of prose and such.

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