Thanks in part to a grant from a celerity cook, the Williams Bay High School’s culinary program is getting some attention of its own as well as financial support.
The Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced June 1 that Williams Bay High School is one of 38 high schools from across the country selected to receive a $5,000 grant to support its ProStart culinary and restaurant management program through the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant Program.
“I am very happy to see Christie’s hard work pay off,” Williams Bay High School Brent Mansky said of ProStart teacher Christina Torres. “She has done a great job to grow the program and this grant will allow her to continue to offer new opportunities to our students within the ProStart courses.”
ProStart is a two-year technical education program found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical educational centers nationwide, teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry.
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With 145,000 students enrolled across all states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the program teaches students through a combination of classroom and industry instruction.
Other Wisconsin schools receiving grant awards were Sun Prairie East High School in Dane County in metro Madison, and Eagle River Middle and High School in Vilas County in northern Wisconsin.
American celebrity cook
Host of the syndicated daily talk and lifestyle program “Rachael Ray” and the Food Network series “30 Minute Meals,” Ray, 53, is an American celebrity cook, television personality, businesswoman, and author. Ray is the winner of three Daytime Emmy Awards.
Earlier this year, the Rachael Ray Foundation contributed $225,000 to the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in support of ProStart Grow Grants. Schools with existing ProStart programs, or those looking to become part of the ProStart program, were invited to apply, with winning schools demonstrating how the ProStart program positively impacts, or could impact, their students and the community.
At Williams Bay High School, Torres is developing plans for using the grant funds and establishing program goals to continue to increase the number of students taking ProStart courses.
“Williams Bay School District is extremely excited to be a recipient of the Rachael Ray Grow Grant,” Torres said. “Over the last three years, the program has grown in not only its content but student enrollment. We are eager to use this grant money to add new equipment to the classroom that will give the students a more hands-on experience. We cannot wait to see where this grant money takes our students in the future.”
To date, the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant Program has provided $590,000 to schools demonstrating a strong need to engage and educate high school students interested in exploring restaurant and foodservice careers.
“ProStart programs, and the educators who support them, provide high school students across the country with skills they need to be successful throughout life,” said award-winning television personality and philanthropist Rachael Ray. “We (The Rachael Ray Foundation) are proud to support the dreams, passion and hard work that these Grow Grant recipients display in their classrooms and schools as they cultivate the next generation of restaurant and foodservice professionals.”
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