Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Culinary program model for future vocational classes

February 7, 2008

Eudora USD 391 Superintendent Marty Kobza promised his speech wouldn't last longer than five minutes Saturday at the annual Eudora Chamber of Commerce meeting. Then, he introduced Jason Gray, the instructor of the culinary arts program the Eudora district offers in cooperation with De Soto USD 232.

That action extended Kobza's time at the podium by twice his estimate. Gray is passionate about his program and his students and his words to the gathering were so heartfelt that it wasn't the kind of talk that had listeners sneaking a glance at their watches as the fidgeted in uncomfortable chairs. The attendees already knew the quality of work his students perform from the meals served at the annual dinner. Gray told those attending he had less to do with the dinner than in the past as the students in what is now a two-year program took it on themselves to prepare the food.

The culinary arts program seemed an odd choice for a vocational education class when it was introduced five years ago. But any perception of oddity disappeared soon as the program attracted students from Eudora, the two high schools in the De Soto district and others in Johnson County and as Gray set about selling the program to any who would listen or taste the samplings of his students.

When Kobza did start speaking, he noted the importance of vocational education in an economy where the majority of jobs require more training than high school but less than a college degree. The superintendent spoke of the possibilities the new technical education center that is part of the bond issue will afford and once again mentioned bio-technology classes.

We anticipate more innovative offerings as Kobza and the district build the vocational education program.

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