ProStart places students on a culinary journey


Culinary students at Maxwell spend half of their school day—about three hours—receiving instruction and cooking. Those who participate in ProStart, Williams said, typically have a specific career path in mind.

“They’re the ones who go into industry or culinary school, and they have a higher commitment because they want to make a career out of it,” she said.

GRA President and CEO Karen Bremer said students have benefited from ProStart since its inception in 1991, when the late Herman Cain was president of the National Restaurant Association and started the program in Atlanta. It has since expanded to 50 states, DC and Guam, and enrolls 145,000 students in 1,800 schools.

“Students will learn practical skills, and they will also earn certification in food service sanitation, which is required by the state,” Bremer said. “It also introduces them to all the different career paths in the industry. There are nearly 100,000 jobs that include site development, marketing, public relations, finance, franchise relations, and photography.

This year, Pacheco is back at Maxwell as a culinary arts intern and plans to compete again. This commitment prompted Williams to nominate her for the GRA award.

“She really put a lot of effort into the class and she plans to go to culinary school,” Williams said. “One way to make it more affordable is to provide scholarships, so any opportunity I can give students to get one, I want to help.”

Information about ProStart is online at

SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week, we take a look at successful programs, projects, and efforts at area schools, from kindergarten through graduate school. To suggest a story, contact HM Cauley at [email protected] or 770-744-3042.


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