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National Restaurant Association - ProStart students have 'great hospitality careers ahead of them'

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ProStart students have 'great hospitality careers ahead of them'

prostart hickey crop.jpg

Last year, Saline (Mich.) High School student Tommy Hickey called his uncle to tell him about the cool culinary and hospitality management program at his school.

"Would it be called ProStart?" asked his uncle, NRA Vice Chairman Phil Hickey. Although Tommy was inspired by his uncle's career with O'Charley's and RARE Hospitality, he didn't make the connection between ProStart and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

After attending several National ProStart Invitational competitions, Phil Hickey had been inspired to visit several ProStart schools. When he visited his family in Michigan at Thanksgiving, his nephew invited him to his class.

The school, built four or five years ago, incorporated the ProStart program into its design, so it had state of the art facilities, as well commitment to the program from the principal and superintendent, as well as the instructors, Hickey said.

"The program is the best I've seen," he said. "It's competitive to get in the class, and the students are very involved and engaged."

Hickey also recently the Academy of Culinary Arts at Choice High School and Tech Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (pictured above).

The students showed creativity, adaptability and teamwork in an Iron Chef-like competition. Teams of four came up with a recipe and plan on-the-spot to prepare a dish with bone-in chicken. "There was a lot of enthusiasm," Hickey said.

Some of the student were especially focused, dedicated and ambitious, he said.

"They have great hospitality careers ahead of them," he said. "They will be definite strengths in our industry in the years to come."

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