Monday, March 30, 2015

Culinary Arts students test knowledge at ProStart competition

 Eight local students representing the Clare-Gladwin Career Center’s Culinary Arts class joined 53 teams of their peers from 20 career and technical education centers across Michigan on March 22 and March 23 for the annual Michigan ProStart Competition in Lansing. Hosted by the Michigan Restaurant Association Education Support Foundation (MRA ESF), the students competed in multiple events that tested their knowledge of the ProStart curriculum; a two-year program for high school students that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders.

The high school juniors and seniors from Clare and Gladwin counties were divided into two teams – one competing in the Management portion of the competition and the other in Nutrition. On the Management team was Beaverton senior Nicole Martin, along with Gladwin seniors Heather Baker, Brandon Bentley, and Cassie Melean.  The Nutrition team included Clare junior Mehna Orr, Harrison senior Noah Cesal, and Harrison juniors Dylan Atwell and Marissa Mathews.

The Management team first competed in the ServSafe “Jeopardy!” style knowledge bowl sponsored by the Van Eerden Foodservice Company. This question-and-answer event tested the participants’ knowledge of critically important issues of food safety and sanitation. Baker, Bentley, Martin, and Melean then took part in the management/entrepreneurship portion of the competition, sponsored by Gordon Food Service. Students demonstrated their knowledge of the industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation, and applying critical thinking skills to challenges that restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.

During the Nutrition component of the ProStart competition, Atwell, Cesal, Mathews, and Orr created a menu and prepared a three-course meal that met the National Restaurant Association’s Kids’ Live Well and USDA menu criteria.

Ultimately, the Management team placed sixth and the Nutrition team placed second in their respective categories.

“We are so proud of our students,” said Culinary Arts Instructor Heidi Rocha. “They not only worked very hard and performed well, but in many ways demonstrated strong character, maturity, and compassion towards others. We witnessed them connecting with other ProStart students, shaking hands, and even encouraging other teams who didn't perform as well. It was definitely a meaningful experience for everyone.”

Rocha thanked Chef Fred Garcia of Tipsy Bear Bistro in West Branch and Clare County Senior Services Dietician Carol Majewski for mentoring the student teams as they prepared for the competition.

Rocha also expressed appreciation for those who sponsored the teams’ participation in the ProStart Competition:
Athey Precision
Bill & Teresa Jackson
Create It - Beaverton
Cynthia Burns Consulting LLC
Kehoe Realty - Gladwin
Lambert's Meat Market - Gladwin
MacLean's Mercantile - Harrison
Mr. Rooter
National Pipeline Services
Ponderosa Steakhouse - Clare

Culinary Arts is one of nine career and technical education programs offered to local high school juniors and seniors at the Clare-Gladwin Career Center, a program of the Clare-Gladwin RESD.

Monday, March 2, 2015

UNITE's Arrive Alive Tour reveals distracted driving dangers to students and community

The Clare-Gladwin Career Center’s Criminal Justice students recently joined UNITE – a national company that works to prevent unsafe driving behaviors – in educating their classmates, Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) students, and community members about the potential consequences of drunk and distracted driving through the Arrive Alive Tour.  

The program used a number of resources to heighten awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and texting while driving, including a high-tech simulator that allowed participants to sit in the “driver’s seat” and experience the outcomes of distracted and impaired driving in a controlled environment. A Passenger-Eye-View monitor gave those standing near the simulator the chance to see what the driver was experiencing. Each participant also received a mock ticket that explained the ramifications of their simulator experience. “Most students thought that they would be able to whip right through the simulator course,” said DJ Newman, Criminal Justice instructor. “However, most of them failed within seconds.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers younger than 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

Additionally, the Criminal Justice students spent time in classrooms of their peers to further enforce the dangers of these illegal driving behaviors by sharing statistics and facts, and conducting mock sobriety tests. During the tests, the other students wore goggles that replicated how their vision would be impacted if impaired.

Approximately 300 people participated in the day’s activities.

The Arrive Alive Tour event was made possible by the Clare-Gladwin Career Center, MMCC, MidMichigan Health, the Clare County Sheriff's Department, the Clare County Prosecutor's Office, and the Clare City Police Department.