Washington state ProStart excels at nationwide competition

Washington state ProStart excels at nationwide competition https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ProStart2-861x198.jpg

The Washington Restaurant Association (WRA) is pleased to celebrate another year of success for the Washington ProStart teachers and students. Every year our state excels at the National ProStart Invitational. This year was no exception, and the state winners were even more outstanding.

The invitational is the finale of a nationwide series of state competitions hosted by state restaurant associations like the WRA. For each respective competition – culinary or management – students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges and universities with skills they’ve developed through ProStart.

Two Washington high schools placed in the top 20 nationwide. Oak Harbor High School teacher and chef, Mary Arthur, who was named Teacher of the Year for Washington, was honored and is attending the National Convention happening now in Chicago, for her nomination as a National ProStart Educator of Excellence.

Chef Arthur’s capable class from Oak Harbor placed 6th and Tacoma’s Stadium High School placed 19 out of 47 other states and more than 300 student competitors. Chef Arthur herself was honored at the invitational, held last month in Anaheim, Calif. This talented group showcased their passion and skills in front of nearly 1,000 friends and family, educators and industry leaders. These results prove that support for programs like ProStart are worthwhile and a value to the community.

“The two teams that represented Washington state rocked it!” said Lyle Hildahl, director of the WRA Education Foundation. “These schools represent what is so wonderful about the ProStart program in general. Not only did they represent well as teams, but Oak Harbor had the Teacher of the Year. Stadium High School received an official proclamation from the mayor of Tacoma on its success, and their business mentor was the Small Business Mentor of the Year. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids, the teachers, and the industry member support for the states hospitality future.”

ProStart is a two-year hospitality program that develops culinary techniques and management skills in high school students, and is offered in schools across the U.S. ProStart can be considered the training ground for the next generation as nearly all first time jobs are in a restaurant. In Washington, one out of every 34 people work in a restaurant.

You can click here to view footage of this year’s competition: www.nraef.org/ProStart/Invitational.


Restaurants serve. The Washington Restaurant Association has served its members and helped them succeed in business for 86 years. Restaurants are the largest private employer in the state, with more than 218,000 employees. Washington’s 13,832 restaurants annually contribute $15.1 billion to the state economy, generate $757 million in state taxes, and pay more than $3.8 billion in wages each year. Washington restaurants are the cornerstone of the economy, vital to communities and fundamental to careers. Learn more at www.warestaurant.org.

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