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ProStart Restuarant Management Cooks Up Success

ProStart+class+at+SkillsUSA
Courtesy of Jill Hillberry
ProStart class at SkillsUSA

Despite the fact that the ProStart Restaurant Management course is important to so many students here at Wheeling Park High School, many students outside of the program do not know about it.

The course is taught by Mrs. Jill Hillberry, who has been at Wheeling Park for fourteen years.

“I teach the ProStart program, which is kind of like a condensed version of a culinary arts degree,” Hillberry said. “We have a Foundation course in the first year level, that’s a block class. Students are in there for two years altogether doing everything culinary arts from cooking, baking, restaurant management, and cost control.”

I mainly joined because I have a true love for baking and cooking, But I wanted to expand those horizons and take a class here”

— Abigail Howard

Hillberry also took the time to explain her goals for her students.

“My goal is to get them job ready,” said Hillberry. “To learn how to cook for themselves and their family. And to be able to have a career out of it.”

Hillberry touched on what in this program helps to prepare aspiring chefs and restaurant owners for their futures.

“Of the students I have now, I would say seventy five percent of them are currently employed in the restaurant industry,” said Hillbery. “Being here throughout the whole duration of the program will prepare them but specifically, if they want to go on to college, there’s different certifications that they can receive while they’re in high school to advance them.”

An important part of the ProStart course is also competition opportunities.

“There’s different competitions that come up throughout the school year,” said Hillberry. “We have a team competition where students have one hour to cook a three course meal. And then there’s also a management team competition where students create a business plan for a restaurant concept and pitch it to judges. There are also the SkillsUSA competitions that are in the spring every year that we compete in culinary arts restaurant service, commercial baking, and wedding cake design.”

SkillsUSA soup sale          Photo courtesy of Jill Hillberry

But ProStart has even more opportunities not limited to competition.

“There’s a lot of different travel opportunities,” said Hillberry. “We get to go to the Greenbrier every year for a conference. We go to the Charleston Leadership Academy and Fall Leadership Academy with SkillsUSA as well. CTE Day in the legislature… all CTE programs are able to be highlighted at the Capitol.”

Junior Tyler Parsons shared his favorite experience within the program.

“It’s the buffets,” said Parsons. “Teachers would come in during lunch periods and they would pay a small price to have our good food.”

Sophomore Malachi Phillips shared why he joined the program.

My goal is to get them job ready, To learn how to cook for themselves and their family. And to be able to have a career out of it.

— Jill Hillberry

“I’ve just always wanted to cook,” said Phillips. “Like it’s always been my dream in life… we made meatballs, pasta… pepperoni rolls, cinnamon rolls. But honestly, the cinnamon rolls have got to be my favorite.”

Junior Abigail Howard also shared why she chose to join the program.

“I mainly joined because I have a true love for baking and cooking,” said Howard. “But I wanted to expand those horizons and take a class here because I’ve been hearing a lot about it… and it’s great meeting… people who love cooking as much as I do. And I love being a part of that community and just learning different types of skills…. I think everyone should learn how to cook.”

Senior Joshua Antigo shared what he learned from being involved with ProStart.

“A valuable lesson I learned was working together is better than working by yourself,” said Antigo. “At times it can be hard trying to manage everything all at once, so [with] the support of the other students and Mrs Hillberry… it really just comes along. It’s much better working with other people than working by yourself.”

An antipasta tray prepared by the ProStart class   Photo courtesy of Jill Hillberry

 

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About the Contributor
Taylor Andrews
Taylor Andrews, Managing Editor
  • Journalism II
  • Senior
  • Young Patriots Choir, Park Players President, Speech Team Interp Division Leader
  • Future Goal: Broadway Starlet
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