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Watauga High School Takes Top Honors at Carolinas ProStart Competition, on to Nationals in Baltimore

Front to back: Anna Jensen, Denver Elliott, and Eli Bradford.

March 23, 2012. CHARLESTON, S.C. — A Watauga High School team has won first place in the management category of the Carolinas ProStart Invitational competition for high school students from North and South Carolina. The winning team includes Eli Bradford, Denver Elliott, Anna Jensen, and alternate Alisha McGuire.

The Carolinas ProStart Invitational is an annual competition for culinary and food service management students and the 2012 event was held in Charleston, S.C. last week. In addition to the honor of being recognized for exceptional performance, the top three teams in both the management and culinary categories were also awarded a total of more than 2.5 million dollars in scholarships. A team from Lejeune High School in Camp Lejeune was the winner in the culinary category.

Management teams in ProStart events develop a proposal for an original restaurant concept and apply creative and critical thinking to the challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations. Team performance is observed and rated by expert judges from industry and academia.

NC HEF Executive Director, Alyssa Barkley said “The strength, passion, confidence, dedication and pride that students, educators and parents display during competition is exhilarating. Year after year it is so evident that our students are developing, growing and progressing.”

As champion of the Carolinas ProStart Invitational, the Watauga High School team now goes on to compete against teams from across the country in the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Md. April 27-29. The team’s trip to the National ProStart event comes courtesy of the generous support of the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) and the NC Hospitality Education Foundation (NC HEF).

The top five teams in both the culinary and management categories of the national ProStart competition will be awarded additional scholarships to pursue a college education.

ProStart is a two-year educational program supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in partnership with state restaurant associations. The career-building program blends classroom learning and mentored work experience to teach high school students the management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. ProStart programs reach more than 90,000 students in 1,700 high schools across the country and in several U.S territories. Watauga High School’s team has benefitted from the support of the NC ProStart Program, which is managed by Susan Seay.

“ProStart opens doors 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. “We congratulate the students from Watauga High School and Lejeune High School on their achievements and wish them great success at the National ProStart Invitational.”

Watauga High School is a comprehensive high school serving approximately 1,450 students in grades 9-12. It is rated a School of Distinction based on the NC school accountability system.

For more information about ProStart programs, visit www.prostart.restaurant.org or www.ncrla.biz/prostart.