Students from the Cherry Creek Schools ProStart hospitality program will head to the 14th Annual National ProStart Invitational Competition, to be held April 29-May 1 in Dallas, after winning top honors at the state level. Those students are:
• Alyssa Anglin, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School
• Devan Cawley, a senior at Cherokee Trail High School
• Kevin Graf, a senior at Grandview High School
• Brenda Guerrero, a junior at Grandview High School
• Alyssa Roberts, a junior at Eaglecrest High School
The students competed as a team and earned first place in the Management category at the 17th Annual Colorado ProStart Invitational Competition, held March 11 at Johnson & Wales University. A team of Grandview High School students also competed in the Culinary category, earning a high score that helped Grandview place second overall.
ProStart is a high school hospitality education program of the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Foundation (CRAEF). It is a two-year foodservice and hospitality management curriculum offered to high school juniors and seniors, and is offered at Grandview and Smoky Hill high schools through the Career and Technical Education department of the Cherry Creek School District.
“ProStart helps develop high school students in an invaluable way,” said Audra Dunleavy, Prostart teacher at Grandview. “Through experience and hands-on learning, they are able to learn skills and values that will carry them throughout their personal and professional lives, no matter what direction they choose to go. Whether it be participating on a competition team for experience, networking and scholarship opportunities, or focusing more on the general class and earning college credits through Metro State University, there are a variety of opportunities for all motivated students in this program!”
The management team had to create a restaurant concept based on demographics provided by ProStart nationals. The students developed a fast-casual breakfast bakery concept called “Sift.” During the competition, they had ten minutes to “sell” their concept to the judges with a verbal presentation, vision board and PowerPoint presentation. CCSD architecture students helped the team create an ARCHICAD floorplan of the restaurant as well as beautiful 3D images of the floorplan to enhance the presentation. The team also had the support of management mentors Tim Lynott and Chris Kolin from Chilis and Val Bailey, who is a retired ProStart teacher and CRAEF mentor.
The team faced 15 minutes of critical thinking questions which tested their knowledge of safety and sanitation, concept knowledge, marketing, human resources and customer relations and menu development.
In the Culinary category, students were asked to create two identical plates of an appetizer, entrée and dessert in one hour. Restrictions included using only two butane burners for heat, two 8’ tables and NO ELECTRICITY. The students also had to cost out their courses to show actual cost vs. menu cost. A team of Grandview students earned a score that helped Grandview place second overall. The culinary team consisted of Grandview seniors Alex Abel, Edward Kemp Christian Orozco, Mackenzie Stevens and GHS junior Kristina Armijo-Martinez. They were supported by mentor chefs including Ryan McGrory from YaYa’s Bistro, William Long from Baur’s Restaurant & Listening Lounge, and Leslie Rendon, who was a 2015 culinary team competitor.
Students from any high school in the district can take ProStart classes, which offer students college credits through Metropolitan State University, allow them to gain experience through events and caterings, learn from industry mentors and network within the hospitality industry.