ED-TEC students named state champs
ProStart students from the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center in Eudora were recently awarded first place in the management team competition at the fifth annual Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association's Hospitality Cup Student Competition March 8 and 9 in Wichita.
The management team of Nick Tillman, Eudora High School, Samantha Creason, Mill Valley High School, Anthony Cannon, Lawrence High School, and Paul Marks, De Soto High School, took first and received an invitation to the national competition April 30 to May 2 in Charlotte, N.C.
The team earned a third-place bronze medal in the knowledge bowl; first-place gold medal in the case study; and a first-place trophy for its composite management score.
Fifteen teams participated in the state contest, sponsored by the KRHA Education Foundation.
The management team will compete against 28 states in the national event as well as be recognized May 15 at the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association's annual Evening of Hospitality Gala.
The ED-TEC culinary team of Jessica Kraus and LaDuska Johnson, both of Eudora High School, Scott Russell, Eudora Community Learning Center, and Tyler Collene, Mill Valley High School, also participated in the state event, but did not place in the top three.
All of the ED-TEC students received an assortment of scholarships ranging from $500 per year to $6,000 per year.
The Hospitality Cup Competition is a highlight of the ProStart Restaurant program curriculum used at ED-TEC and sponsored through KRHA. Presently, the program is featured in 23 high schools throughout the state.
Teams compete in two major events during the competition requiring intensive culinary and hospitality management skills.
In the culinary event, each team has one hour to demonstrate its creative abilities through preparation of a three-course meal judged throughout by professionals from the food service industry.
The management competition, in which ED-TEC finished first, featured a team's industry knowledge through its participation in a case study and a question and answer game show-style event.
The ProStart curriculum provides aspiring restaurateurs and chefs an in-depth assessment of the food and beverage industry.
Designed for high school juniors and seniors, students must pass two comprehensive exams and complete 400 internship hours during the course of the curriculum. Those successfully completing the programs can earn national certificates and qualify for scholarships to continue their education.
"Every year we are absolutely amazed at how talented these young adults are," KRHA Director of Workforce Development Neeley Carlson said. "The hospitality industry continues to grow at an extremely face pace and employers are seeking qualified professionals of the caliber produced through this excellent program."
Winners of the statewide KRHA event will move on to the national level in Charlotte, where first-place teams from 33 states will compete for honors and scholarships for post-secondary education.
Instructor Jason Gray, who leads the ProStart program at ED-TEC, was named teacher of the year.
Gray works with both students and area business leaders to ensure students reap the maximum benefits the program has to offer.
"It is tremendously satisfying to see how committed these students are to this program," Gray said. "The annual KRHA competition allows them to showcase their knowledge of the industry, as well as what they have learned from their hands-on training provided by area restaurants."