Two Vermillion teams to compete in ProStart

Two Vermillion teams to compete in ProStart
Nine teams of students from five high schools will compete in a new event in Mitchell on Tuesday, March 25. The winning team will travel to San Diego next month to participate in a national competition.

Teams from Brookings, Lake Andes, Lower Brule, Mitchell and Vermillion will participate in the First Annual South Dakota ProStart Competition, which tests students on culinary and business management knowledge and skills. Vermillion is sending two teams to the competition, under the direction of instructor Ilene Lerseth.

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

"The ProStart program is a two-year business management program," said Shawn Lyons, Executive Director of the South Dakota Retailers

Association. "South Dakota is one of 47 states which now offer the ProStart curriculum to high schools. It features restaurant, foodservice and business courses linked with mentored worksite experiences. And the ProStart Competition provides a fun way for students to put those new business skills to the test."

Ilene Lerseth of Vermillion High School added that the program is a real challenge.

"Preparing for the competition has been a lot of hard work, with the goal of making it look easy to those watching us. It has really added rigor and relavance to my curriculum."

The ProStart Competition is composed of two main areas: culinary and management. In the culinary competition, each team will demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a meal consisting of a starter, entr�e and dessert. They will be judged on work skills, safety, sanitation, knife skills, presentation, menu, and product taste.

During the management competition, each team will demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by competing in a case study, where students are tested on their communication skills and ability to apply their knowledge of the industry to practical situations.

The teams will finish the day with a Quiz Bowl, which is a question-and-answer game show-style event.

"The ProStart program allows for excellent collaboration between education and business and industry and helps students make the connection between the classroom and the workplace," said Becky Nelson of the South Dakota Office of Career and Technical Education.

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