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W.Va. ProStart Students Win $400,000 in Scholarships

March 30, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students from Putnam County have captured first place honors in both the culinary and management divisions in the West Virginia Hospitality Education and Training ProStart Hospitality Cup Competition.

The event, conducted by the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Hospitality Education, was held at Stonewall Resort earlier this month. Students on teams placing first, second or third received scholarships totaling more than $400,000. The scholarships, from 15 post-secondary schools, offer students the opportunity to pursue advanced training in culinary arts or hospitality management after high school. 

ProStart students participating in the culinary competition demonstrated their creative abilities through the preparation of a meal consisting of a starter, entrée and dessert. First place went to Putnam Career and Technical Center, Joy Dalton, instructor. The team was mentored by Chef Tommy Grant of Carver Career Center. Second place was awarded to Marion County Career and Technology Center, Diana Kincell, instructor. The team was mentored by Chef Todd Stalnaker with Sodexho Corp. Third place went to Wood County Technical Center, Barbara Boardman, instructor. The team was mentored by Chef Mike Drazenovich of Sysco.

In the management competition, ProStart students demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by competing in a case study. Students were tested on their communication skills and ability to apply their knowledge of the industry to practical situations, as well as in a question-and-answer game show-style event.

Putnam County Career and Technical Center captured first place in the management competition and the Hospitality Cup. Second place went to Raleigh County’s Academy of Careers and Technology, Lesa Spears, instructor. The team was mentored by Chef Kris Suita of Sodexho. Wood County Career and Technology placed third.

These students have dedicated themselves to learning as much as they can in the classroom and then applying it in this competition,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine. “Knowledge, skill, motivation and teamwork are key factors of success at this competition and in the 21st century as these students move forward in their careers and education in the restaurant and foodservice industry.”
 
The team from Putnam Career and Technical Center will now represent West Virginia in the culinary and management events at the Eighth Annual National ProStart Invitational for a chance to win the national title April 24-26 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego. At the national competition, the team will compete against 39 other qualifying teams from across the country. First, second, third, fourth and fifth place teams from both the culinary and management competitions at the national level will be awarded college scholarships.
 
For more information, contact Donna Wilkes, ProStart coordinator for WV HEAT, at (304) 558-6321, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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