NEWTON, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Corrine Williams has been a Rachael Ray fan since she was 5 years old. She told FOX 5’s Portia Bruner she still remembers how fascinated she was with the famed chef and TV show host.
“While everybody else was watching Hannah Montana, I was watching the Food Network. I would come home after school, sit next to my mom and watch Rachael Ray,” said the 18-year-old Covington student.
As Corinne got older she started cooking and baking as well. Now she's so good, the Newton High School senior has been accepted to a distinguished culinary school in Rhode Island.
“Johnson and Wales is a prestigious cooking school—one of the best in the country, but it also has a prestigious price tag. But for me, I had to make this work because Corinne has been through so much in her life, I had to help her with a dream she’s had since she was a little girl,” said Corinne’s mother Kimya Motley.
In September 2011, Corrine and her mother survived an atrocious act of domestic violence at the hands of her estranged husband.
“I had just filed for divorce because he was abusive. He shot me four times and shot her once in the head as I was dropping her off at a daycare center. Doctors didn’t think either of us would survive,” said Motley. “She had to overcome so much--how to walk again, talk, feed herself, read, everything.”
Last December, Kimya reached out to the Rachael Ray Show to share her daughter's story. When producers invited the family to New York to meet the famed chef show last week, the mother and daughter had no idea Rachael Ray was cooking up a big surprise--all captured on camera as Rachel taped her show with the bashful teenager looking on in shock.
“She told me she was going to pay my full tuition. I was just shocked, very shocked that all of this was happening,” said the Newton High School Senior who wants to host her own talk show on the Food Network one day.
The foundation is paying $32,000 to cover Corinne's first year at Johnson & Wales. The episode airs May 20. Kimya and her daughter hope others will be inspired.
“When I used to look at her, I could never feel sorry for myself because I could see everything she was doing just to get her life back on track. That’s why I want everyone—especially young people to know—no matter what you've gone through, don’t give up because you can still live out your dreams.”