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National Restaurant Association - ProStart students preview professional life at NRA Show

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ProStart students preview professional life at NRA Show

High school senior Leyann Lusung dreamed of going to culinary school but didn't think she could afford it. But after her team won the culinary competition last month at the National ProStart Invitational, she received enough scholarship money to make it possible.

She and her teammates from Simon Sanchez High School in Guam also received a trip to the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. A few days ago, they made their second trip in a month to the mainland United States.

The Simon Sanchez students and the winners of the National ProStart Invitational management competion from Badger High School in Wisconsin helped celebrity chefs at the NRA Show World Culinary Showcase, shared stories of their ProStart experience with industry leaders and checked out food and equipment innovations on the exhibit floor. ProStart students from Illinois and surrounding states participated in demonstrations at the NRA booth throughout the NRA Show.

Lusung, who plans to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Seattle next fall, said she was proud to have helped Chef Maneet Chauhan at the World Culinary Showcase and excited about getting cookbooks signed from many celebrity chefs.The Philippines native also sample her first Chicago hotdog and marveled at equipment, technology and ideas that haven't reached Guam.

Lusung credits ProStart with changing her life. Growing up inthe Philippines, she was inspired by her grandfather, a cook on a military base. When she went to high school in Guam, she learned about ProStart, which teaches students front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house, food safety and management skills.

"It opened my eyes,: she says. "Seeing the fire, holding the knife, I knew this is what I wanted to do."

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