Please join us in congratulating our two Wyoming ProStart teams who competed in Charleston, South Carolina April 29th through May 1st at this year’s National ProStart Student Invitational. We had an amazing group representing Wyoming that included a total ten students, three instructors, one team chef mentor, three sets of parents as well as three staff members who all were able to travel with us. Our Management team was representing Glenrock High School and our Culinary team came from Jackson Hole High School.
At this year’s competition, ProStart champions from 49 states, US territories and Department of Defense bases, competed for their share of a total of nearly $5 million in scholarships by demonstrating their mastery of restaurant leadership skills in a fast-paced culinary and restaurant management competition.
As part of the culinary competition, teams prepared a starter, entrée and dessert within 60 minutes using only two butane burners and were judged on categories including taste, knife skills, safety, sanitation and teamwork.
In the management competition, teams developed an original restaurant concept and applied critical thinking skills to address challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.
Nearly 1,000 attendees, including industry and academic leaders, NRAEF board members, state restaurant association representatives, ProStart educators, friends and family members joined the competition to cheer on the student competitors.
We could not be more proud of the excellent representation our teams displayed for our Wyoming ProStart program. The hard work, dedication and passion shown by the instructors, mentors, parents and students most definitely paid off. Our teams compete against many other state’s school districts with substantially greater financial resources (one team from last year had just finished their $1 million renovation of the student kitchen in their high school), as well as vocational training schools that focus solely on hospitality programs. We are very pleased to see our students showcasing their skills with this international group and placing so well. Our Culinary team place 11th and our Management team placed 34th. A full listing of the top five winners and video from the event can be seen on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WLRAEducationFoundation).
One of the primary focuses of the WLRA Education Foundation is the ProStart program. ProStart is the nation’s premier culinary arts and restaurant management program, utilized in more than 1,700 high schools in 48 states, Guam and on U.S. military bases and reaching nearly 100,000 secondary students annually. Administered by the NRAEF, ProStart prepares young people to pursue additional studies or enter a rewarding career in the foodservice sector. Many post-secondary schools in the nation recognize ProStart’s Certificate of Achievement, which is awarded to students who complete both levels of the program and at least 400 hours of work experience, and reward them with scholarships and credits. Here in Wyoming we have nearly 30 schools teaching the ProStart curriculum with more than 500 students currently enrolled. These amazing young adults are forming our future skilled workforce right here in our own communities.
Thank you to all of the instructors, students, parents, school officials, mentors and everyone who helped our teams along the way to compete at the national level. We are looking forward to next year’s national event that will be held in Providence, Rhode Island in May 2018.
Jill M. Duval
Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association Education Foundation
(307) 634-8816 ext. 202