Youthentity’s ProStart culinary competition team places 2nd at state

Members of the Youthentity ProStart team, from left, Izel Miranda, Finn Windmueller, Cynthia Jimenez, Diana Aguilar. All are Glenwood Springs High School students.
Youthentity/Courtesy photo

After a two-year hiatus, Youthentity’s Career Academy Hospitality program students competed at the ProStart State Competition in Denver on Feb. 24, taking second place.

The competition took place at the Gaylord hotel in Aurora. Participants competed for post-secondary scholarship money and the chance to advance to the National ProStart Invitational held in May in Washington, D.C.

ProStart is a career and technical education program that unites the food service industry and the classroom to teach high school students culinary skills and restaurant management principles, as well as employability skills such as communication, teamwork, professionalism, and time management, Yountentity said in a news release.

Youthentity is a career and finance education nonprofit organization based in Carbondale.

“This annual event typically showcases more than 250 ProStart students from 30 Colorado high schools who demonstrate a mastery of culinary and academic skills as they compete in the Annual ProStart Student Invitational & Sysco Denver Hospitality Cup Competition,” the release stats.

This year, 17 schools attended the state competition. Teams compete for more than $750,000 in scholarships through both a Culinary Competition and Hospitality Management Competition.

Four of Youthentity’s Career Academy Culinary Arts & hospitality students represented Youthentity at last week’s competition: Diana Aguilar, Cynthia Jimenez, Izel Miranda, and Finn Windmueller; all students at Glenwood Springs High School.

The Youthentity competition team was supervised by Career Academy Director Greg Beachey and Chef Instructor Joe Daboul. Career Academy is a year-long program on which students explore different industries and career paths while working alongside industry professionals and earning high school and college credits and industry certifications, the release states.

“The ProStart competition is not only a way for our students to showcase their skills learned through the Career Academy program, but they also experience what it means to work as a team in a highly competitive situation,” Youthentity Executive Director Kirsten McDaniel said in the release. “This team has put in extra hours and weekends in practice, and we’re incredibly proud of their efforts.”

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