Students from Meadville and Hershey to Advance to National Invitational
This February, 65 students from 12 high schools won top honors in culinary and management categories at the 8th Annual Pennsylvania ProStart Competition hosted by PRLA, the state-wide association which strives to promote, protect, educate and improve the hospitality and tourism industries. The statewide competition was held on February 23, 2022, at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and sponsored by Marriott International, Curtze Food Service, Hershey, PennState School of Hospitality Management, and more. The first-place winners in each category will advance to the National ProStart Student Invitational in Washington, DC on May 6–8.
Competition results for the 2022 management category are Crawford County CTC in first place, Milton Hershey School came in second, and winning third place is Bethlehem AVTS. The winning restaurant concept was inspired by Aristotle: a free-standing and elemental-themed restaurant designed to send guests into the mind of Aristotle himself with engaging scenery and new terrestrial cuisine that has the elements of fire, earth, water, and air incorporated into each dish.
Milton Hershey School won top honors in the 2022 culinary category while Bethlehem AVTS came in second. Monroe CTI (Armstrong) received honors for third place. The winning three-course meal consisted of a chilled seafood sausage salad, smoked lamb chop with apricot-maple glaze entree, and a porcini chocolate almond torte for dessert.
“We are thrilled to see the level of professionalism of the students and to host another year of Pennsylvania ProStart Competition,” said Hope Sterner, Director of Education for PRLA. “Through ProStart, we’re working to fulfill a goal of growing the next generation of hospitality leaders and are so excited to see the number of participants increase each year.”
Teams from Crawford County CTC and Milton Hershey School will represent Pennsylvania at the National ProStart Student Invitational which will be held from May 6–8, 2022 in Washington, DC. Over 400 students from high schools and vocational centers across the country will compete to win more than a combined $1 million in scholarships, awarded to the top five teams.
ProStart is a nationally accredited two-year program for high school students to create the next generation of hospitality industry leaders. With programs that garner skills ranging from culinary technique to management abilities, ProStart’s curriculum offers real-life experience opportunities and creates a foundation of useful skills that last a lifetime.
ProStart aims to serve all communities, including rural, inner-city, and Department of Defense institutions globally. Taken as an elective track offered in high schools, and technical and vocational centers, ProStart teaches all facets of the industry, with educators ranging from family and consumer science educators to former professional chefs.
PA ProStart Educator of the Year
The ProStart Educator of Excellence Awards recognize educators who demonstrate excellence in the classroom and passion, commitment, and creativity in all aspects of the ProStart program. At the 2022 PA ProStart Student Invitational, Dan Wagner, the culinary arts instructor at the Greene County Career & Technology Center, was named the Pennsylvania ProStart Educator of the Year.
Dan consistently demonstrates his passion and commitment to his students and program by providing opportunities to expand their perspective and gain unique experiences. His motto of “just ask” has led his students to participating in five Presidential Inaugurations (41–45), the Senior PGA Championship Golf Tournament, catered events for Pennsylvania governors and senators, internships at the Trump International Hotel in DC, and numerous community events and service programs. Dan sets high standards for his students and helps them work to achieve those results. The pride, enthusiasm, and dedication his students put forth is learned from his leadership and dedication to them.
Dan will join the state winners from around the country to make up the pool of nominees for the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award, which will be awarded at the National ProStart Student Invitational on May 6–8 in Washington, DC.