LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Lawrence High School student with aspirations to run her own restaurant got a boost from an NBA player and with a $10,000 scholarship.

Victoria Bell already bakes and cooks for friends and loved ones, and received the scholarship from Houston Rockets small forward Jae’Sean Tate.

Tate created the scholarship in November 2021 to support minorities in the food industry who struggle with work and school. The scholarship is Tate’s way of honoring those in the hospitality industry impacted by the pandemic. 

“I’m so proud to award Victoria Bell the Jae’Sean Tate BUILT Scholarship on,” Tate stated in a news release.

“Victoria’s application was inspiring. At just 16 years old, she’s already doing everything she can to pursue her dreams of opening her own restaurant or bakery one day.

Bell expects to graduate high school in 2023. In her winning essay, she wrote about her passion for cooking and baking.

“I feel truly blessed to have won this scholarship, and I am thankful to Jae’Sean Tate for creating the BUILT scholarship,” Bell said.

“I had applied to so many smaller scholarships on and didn’t get them — so I never thought I would win any big scholarships like this. Winning this scholarship has relieved so much stress in my life. I feel like I can now pursue my dream career!”

Bell says she plans to use the scholarship to pursue her dream of studying culinary arts. Throughout high school, she has juggled schoolwork with extracurricular activities and part-time jobs, including one at SweetLove Farms in Oskaloosa.

In her personal time, Victoria cooks and bakes for her family, and has made special cakes for her younger siblings.

A birthday cake was created by Victoria Bell for her younger siblings.

In her application, Victoria shared photos of her favorite work, including a layered cheesecake with a hand-frosted Olaf, and a cake inspired by the Madagascar movie with hand-frosted penguins.