Teton County School District No. 1 students can do a lot of remarkable things that most, if not all, other members of the community would likely fail at.
For example: Could you bake a lemon-thyme pound cake with vanilla buttercream frosting in less than an hour? Didn’t think so. But that’s exactly what the high school’s professional baking team did at the Wyoming ProStart Invitiational in March.
ProStart is a two-year educational program supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in partnership with the Wyoming Restaurant and Lodging Association. The career-building program blends classroom learning with hands-on training to teach high school students the management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and food-service industry.
The team, consisting of Jasmin Nava-Moreno, Nova Lopez and Evelyn Robles Garcia, were crowned state champions for their cake performance. Celebration was the theme of the competition; the students chose to celebrate Pride Week with their cake designs and received near-perfect scores.
The program’s culinary team of Juan Gomez-Frias, Emily Gonzales, Luz Chavez and Rodolfo Juarez came in third, while the restaurant management team of Morana Lundquist, Sarah Sampson, Clara Robinson, Ashley Brimeyer and Katie Lewis came in first and were crowned state champions for their restaurant plan and industry pitch for a vegan, organic, hydroponic-greenhouse-based eatery.
Advisor Molly Matthaei joked to the school board that the students did a good job of presenting their idea in the heart of beef country.
“If they can pull that off in Casper, Wyoming, then we’ve got a pretty good shot,” she said.
Students who could make it to the monthly school district meeting Wednesday night were lauded for their accomplishments. Many could not attend, Matthaei said, because they work restaurant jobs in the evening.
The restaurant management team will head to the national competition next month in Washington, D.C. Students are fundraising to cover the costs of attending. You can donate to the Teton County Education Foundation at TetonEducationFoundation.org; scroll down to the “donate now” buttton and designate money to this cause.