Brookings, Mitchell take top honors at state ProStart


MITCHELL – Teams of students from Brookings High School and Mitchell CTE are headed to a national competition in Providence, Rhode Island, April 27-29 after taking top honors in the 11th annual South Dakota ProStart Invitational.

Brookings High School took first place in the management division, while Mitchell CTE took first in the culinary division.

The local management team headed to nationals includes Abby Enevoldsen, Angela Lansang, Ainsley Powers and Andrew Rassmussen. The team competed under the direction of instructor Joline Dunbar.

The ProStart Invitational is an intense, fast-paced event, with teams vying for state titles in a culinary division and a business management division. Nearly 60 high school students participated in the competition, held March 12-13 in Mitchell.

In the culinary portion of the competition, teams of students demonstrated knife skills and then had just 60 minutes to prepare a three-course gourmet meal without the use of electricity. Many of the state’s premier chefs watched closely, scoring the teams on numerous factors including presentation, taste, sanitation and teamwork.

The Brookings High School culinary team took third place. Team members are Yaritza Gonzalez, Stephen Heesch, Delaney Laframboise and Cassie Whitaker, also competing under the direction of Dunbar.

In the business management competition, students gave presentations on the steps they would need to take to start up a restaurant. In addition to presenting details about the concept to one set of judges, a second set of food-service professionals grilled the teams about their business plans.

The ProStart Invitational is a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Retailers Association and the South Dakota ProStart Advisory Committee.

Participating students were from the following high schools: Aberdeen Central A-TEC, Brookings, Huron, McIntosh, Madison Central, Mitchell CTE Academy, Mobridge-Pollock, Northeast Technical High School, Sioux Falls CTE Academy, Sturgis-Brown, and Wagner.

ProStart is a nationwide high school curriculum 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. 

ProStart reaches more than 140,000 students in 1,800 high schools across 50 states, the Territory of Guam and U.S. military bases in Europe and the Pacific. In South Dakota, 17 schools offer the ProStart program.

Courtesy photo: Members of Brookings High School’s first-place ProStart management team include, from left, Abby Enevoldsen, Ainsley Powers, Andrew Rassmussen and Angela Lansang.

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