Culinary students from Watauga High won the Management part of the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation and N.C. Restaurant & Lodging Association’s inaugural N.C. ProStart Invitational, and will now advance to compete in the 13th annual National ProStart Invitational, May 3-5, in Minneapolis. Watauga and Davie County, who won the Culinary part of the state competition, will compete against 45 other qualifying teams from across the country for a chance to win the national title. At the national competition, hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the top five teams from both the culinary and management competitions will be awarded scholarships to pursue a college education. The Invitational took place March 24, 2014, at the Durham Convention Center. The Watauga High School team is led by teacher Tierra Stark and is comprised of students Elijah Hawley, Connie Alcaraz, and Michelle Tibbett. Students from each team are now eligible for a variety of scholarships to culinary institutes from across the nation. In total, $1,117,500 in scholarship money was raised for the event by the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation.
“ProStart is developing the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders,” said Alyssa Barkley, Executive Director, N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation. “These students have proven their mettle in the N.C. ProStart Invitational and have the full support of the North Carolina restaurant industry as they move forward. ProStart gives students a sense of purpose and helps them feel passionate about their own future. That passion will be on full display when the students represent North Carolina in the National ProStart Invitational.”
ProStart - the NRAEF's proven, high-impact program for high school students - reaches more than 95,000 students in 1,900 high schools across 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and U.S. military bases. It introduces them to the career opportunities available in the restaurant and foodservice industries, and teaches them the restaurant management and culinary arts skills needed to launch their futures. In North Carolina, 1300 students are served by ProStart and supported by the N.C. Hospitality Education Foundation
“ProStart opens the door to rewarding restaurant industry careers for tens of thousands of students each year and provides a platform for students to develop their passion for restaurant management and the culinary arts,” said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “These students’ considerable skills and talents are demonstrated at the National ProStart Invitational. We congratulate Davie County High School and Watauga High School on their success and wish them great success at the 13th annual National ProStart Invitational.”