South Dakota Retailers Association named Megan Jaquet its 2020 ProStart State Educator of Excellence for outstanding achievement in high school culinary and restaurant management education in the state of South Dakota. Jaquet took the reins as the new culinary and restaurant management instructor at Brooking High School after moving from the Sioux Falls Career and Technical Academy as the ProStart Instructor there.
ProStart is a nationwide high school program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. It helps prepare high school students for leadership positions in the workplace by teaching skills which are crucial in any place of employment. Combining hands-on learning in the classroom with mentored work experience, the program provides education on culinary skills, safety, inventory, cost controls, customer service, business math and other practical business management skills. In South Dakota, 17 schools offer the ProStart program.
“My goal as a ProStart educator is to inspire and empower students to discover their passion for hospitality and culinary arts,” said Jaquet. “To do that, I implement projects based on real life aspects of the culinary world that challenge and educate them, while making projects fun and exciting.”
Jaquet was selected for the ProStart educator award and was to be recognized in May at the National ProStart Invitational, where over 400 ProStart students and educators from across the country showcase their culinary and restaurant management skills in a live-action competition for over $200,000 in scholarships. Due to COVID-19, the state and national competitions were canceled.
“We are thrilled to present Megan Jaquet with this award,” said Seanna Regynski, South Dakota ProStart director. “She has been a constant driving force of the ProStart program during her time and highly deserves this honor.”
Upon being nominated, Jaquet is now a finalist for the National Educator of Excellence Awards (NEEA). NEEA winners are recognized one of the following ways, by category (classroom expertise, best practice/knowledge sharing and industry connection), where each category winner will receive a monetary award, or as a finalist for the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year Award, where one winner will receive $10,000.