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Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The power of love
The power of love
July 2, 2024

Boom boom into our hearts

Culinary instructor gives back while paying homage to 80s icon
PPL Instructor George Rapitis performing on stage in Royal Oak at a recent event. (Photo courtesy of George Rapitis).

Every story has a beginning and for this story it begins on a Halloween night where a a 17 year old George Rapitis dressed in his best George Michael costume. Unbeknownst to him, this was the beginning to a long and beautiful road paying tribute to his idol. 

His love of Michael began with the band WHAM!, a 1981 British pop band that starred both Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Michael went solo in 1987 with his first album “Faith.” Rapitis found himself inspired by the artist; so much so that he began performing as him for the first time at what was once Rockstarz Karaoke Bar on Ford Road in Garden City now called Renegades Bar and Grill. His first performance landed him in second place, and won him a big check, literally, and a trophy. 

PPL Instructor George Rapitis can been seen performing as George Michael in the community all over southeast Michigan. (Photo courtesy of George Rapitis).

Once he took off he never stopped, he now performs for charities for cancer research. He began performing for a charity called Bringing back the 80’s in Frankenmuth and 80’s Party with a Purpose. These fundraisers raise money for cancer research or awareness. Although he does it for fun, he states, “most of the time it’s for charity.” 

Rapitis always was inspired by Michael, an artist that behind the scenes would anonymously donate to charities, and even paid for a waitresses debts. Rapitis is truly inspired and states what he would say to the famous pop star, “Thanks for being such a great influence and how much I love his music and how impactful he has been with so many people.” 

When not performing for charity, Rapitis can also be found taking the stage at local venues with other local bands such as the Mega 80’s and Powerplay. Together they perform some of his favorites, “Faith” and “Wake Me Before You Go Go”. He hopes that George Michael would be okay with him impersonating him. With how kind he seems to be, it can be agreed that George Michael would be flattered by Rapitis’s performances. 

Rapitis will take his performances to Facebook live, though his favorite is clearly George Michael, he will do different artists which include, Prince, Rock, Poison and Def Leppard. 

Passion for food and teaching

When Rapitis isn’t performing you can find him sharing his passion for food with the community. He is a well known culinary instructor at Schoolcraft through its PPL programs who combines his love of food with his expansive knowledge of nutrition. 

It was his mother, Carol Rapitis, who worked at Schoolcraft and introduced him the the Schoolcraft’s rich culinary culture and was the person who inspired Rapitis to come to the college. 

George Rapitis poses for a quick photo during his Greek Cooking class at Schoolcraft College on March 15, 2024.(photo courtesy of Stacey Gray)

Starting as a Schoolcraft Culinary Arts student, he has been teaching at Schoolcraft since 2001 in the PPL (Personal and Professional Learning) program. After completing his studies at Schoolcraft he transferred to Madonna University to study dietetics; the science and studies of how food and nutrition affects human health. Filled with passion, he returned to Schoolcraft ready to teach others about their health and what foods can help them achieve wellness. 

His most popular class is his Spanakopita pie, or more commonly known as spinach pie. A Spanakopita pie is a Greek dish with flaky phyllo dough, spinach and feta cheese. He applies his expansive nutrition knowledge and teaches a cooking light class as well. 

“When I do the cooking light, that’s for people who want to get healthier and want to learn how to cook healthy,” said Rapitis Along with his cooking light class, he also teaches athletes what to eat before and after practice or a big game. 

Rapitis is also an accomplished author. He has authored 6 books, his first being “The Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook.” Having been translated in multiple languages including; Greek, Polish, and numerous others. He has now self published five books about culinary arts and nutrition, with his most popular being “The Lighter Side of Dark Chocolate.” All of his published books are available on Amazon either through Kindle or paperback.

You would think at this point how else could this culinary instructor be any kinder and purposeful, but there is more. 

PPL Instructor Geoge Rapitis paying homage to George Michael. (Jess Micheal)

Though Rapitis finds Schoolcraft to be a second home, his passion and heart is at Cambridge, an alternative Garden City high school. From Monday through Thursday, he can be found teaching at-risk students basic kitchen life skills. He teaches them to be self-sufficient, such as food budgets and healthier food options. In the hopes that when they graduate students can apply the life skills Rapitis teaches. 

Though, it is a challenge to keep them motivated; he finds game based learning and the promise of teaching his students special dishes help. “It can be challenging but it is rewarding,” Rapitis said.

To put it briefly, we cannot know who our professors or instructors really are until we delve deep by having conversation and asking a couple good questions. There is no doubt that Rapitis is one of those who has a heart of gold and someone who you want to get to know. He emulates his idols, his mother and George Michael, by performing for charity, helping others with his cooking skills and teaching his students important life skills. He can be found Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year inside Vistatech Center teaching his PPL students. 

This is why Rapitis will boom, boom into the hearts of all he encounters.

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