In an effort to recognize and support Twin Valley alumni, the Twin Valley Community Education Foundation has created an “Alumni Spotlight” section which is featured in TVCEF’s monthly newsletters. The “Alumni Spotlight” highlights a different Twin Valley alum every month who is doing great things in their professional or personal life. If you would like to receive the “Alumni Spotlight” in your inbox, please visit www.tvcef.org and join our email list. If you know a Twin Valley alum who would make a great “Alumni Spotlight,” please contact Lynn at email@example.com.
July 2014 Alumni Spotlight:
Mitch Moffett and Rafael Torres
Mitch and Rafael both graduated in 2007 from Twin Valley. They were acquaintances in high school but since graduation have become good friends. Today they co-own Café 110 on Main Street in Morgantown and love this new adventure of running a restaurant.
What is one of your favorite memories from High School?
Rafael: My favorite memories from high school were from participating in Project Lead the Way and TSA. I will always remember winning at the national TSA competition in Tennessee for engineering design. I wasn’t involved in a lot of other things and getting this award was a big deal for me. I also remember Paul Bowman, the advisor for TSA, who was my favorite teacher.
Mitch: Some of my favorite school memories were during my time in the Ag program. At one time I went to Penn State with the FFA and we did forestry and wildlife identification classes. Back then I wanted a career in some kind of conservation, but I later got swept up into doing graphic design work.
How did you become restaurant owners?
Mitch: It is a funny story! At the time Rafael and I were good friends. Rafael was a full time student, and I had been working at Lowes for a few years. Rafael is family friends with the property owner of the restaurant and she mentioned to him that she needed a new owner for the restaurant.
Rafael: I asked about what would be needed to buy the restaurant and she said that it was a lot of hard work. Since I was a full time student I knew that I would need someone to help me with it. I called Mitch right away and he was driving home from a bad day at work. I asked him, “How would you like to do something different?” From that point we had a week to make the decision to buy the place and the entire time we did lots of research on the logistics of buying and running the restaurant.
Mitch: To us, everything we looked into seemed like a positive experience. We didn’t see any downsides because even if we don’t do this forever, it would be a crash course in business management and other skills that we can use in the future. We both had some restaurant experience and Rafael actually worked at Café 110 when he was in high school. We also have the support of the property owner.
Rafael: People are surprised that we don’t have specific experience in owning a business. I’m still enrolled in Penn State Berks for child psychology but at this point I might change my major to business. I really really like being my own boss!
Mitch: I went to school for graphic design but I was never the academic type. We are improving the business every day and it is doing a lot better than it was. We really value the experience that we get from this place.
How did TVHS prepare you for life after high school?
Mitch: Honestly I learned more in high school than I did post-graduation. I went in to college knowing more than the majority of other students in my classes. The classes I took in high school were more advanced and I had a few independent studies that really helped me dive into the subjects that I liked. Also, my teachers saw something in me and gave me a lot of support.
Rafael: Project Lead the Way helped me tremendously. After TSA Nationals, because of the publicity, I got a job right out of high school working with a local design firm. I was making a good salary off of only my high school skills, which was pretty incredible. I also saw in high school how the town helps the school and the school helps the town. We see how businesses give back and we do as much as we can to support local events and programs.
What are you most proud of in your life?
Rafael: I am very proud of getting through last winter! We bought the restaurant in January and it was the worst month ever. Because of all the bad weather, the restaurant was closed for half of the month. We thought, “What are we doing?” But we made it through the month without going into the red and we knew it was only up from there.
Mitch: I am proud of jumping on board with the restaurant. I’m proud of myself for being definitive and taking a risk. I have never taken many risks before.
TVCEF is a non-profit organization created by an independent board of community volunteers serving the TVSD area in Berks and Chester Counties. The mission of the Twin Valley Community Education Foundation is to serve as a link between business, the school district, and the community to provide educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities. TVCEF helps to support many unique opportunities for the Twin Valley community through annual grants to schools, scholarships to students, and community classes and events. For more information visit www.tvcef.org.