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East Ridge High wins 1st place in state culinary competition

East Ridge High School culinary students, led by instructors Ken Pitts and Christopher Dwyer, recently Prize winners won first place overall in the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation’s (FRLAEF) 19th Annual ProStart Teams Competitions. Over the course of a weekend (March 1 and 2), students from 57 Florida high schools competed in the Johnson & Wales Culinary Competition, Rosen College at UCF Management Competition, Art Institute Edible Centerpiece Competition and the Waiters Relay.


Lake Minneola High School, led by instructors Nick Sandora and Lance Bowles, came in 4th place overall.


Additionally, East Ridge High School students Evangeline Marshall, Faith Marshall, Amanda De Turo and Cole Hilton won 1st place in the Management competition and are headed to Washington, D.C. for the national competition on May 8-10. Lake Minneola High School students Abbigayle Diamal, Bianca Bundy and Brianna Chicas won 2nd place in that category.


Eustis High School student Alexandra Fales won 2nd place in the edible centerpiece contest, where South Lake High School student Sara Guevara won 4th place and East Ridge High School student Leah Filmer won 5th place.


East Ridge students Maxwell Allman, Tyler Dobereiner and Josh Cerna won 1st place in the Waiter’s Relay.


“Students look forward to the Florida ProStart Teams Competition every year,” says Laura Rumer, the Director of the FRLAEF. “Throughout the school year, these students train and practice their respective crafts weekly. The ProStart program and competition teaches high school students not only culinary and management skills, but the value of hard work, too. We are so proud to be a part of building the future of hospitality in Florida with ProStart.”


The last event of the competition was the Salute to Excellence dinner where students were awarded for their respective competition categories. Hundreds of high school students also received scholarships from the FRLAEF and event sponsors Keiser University, Johnson & Wales University, UCF Rosen School of Hospitality, Culinary Institute of America, Valencia College, Louisiana Culinary Institute and New England Culinary Institute. More than $1 million in scholarships were awarded.


The full list of winners is shown below:



1st Place – East Ridge High School
2nd Place – Hialeah Gardens High School
3rd Place – Leto High School
4th Place – Lake Minneola High School
5th Place – Tarpon Springs High School



1st Place – Leto High School
2nd Place – Hialeah Gardens High School
3rd Place – East Ridge High School
4th Place –Northeast High School
5th Place – John A. Ferguson High School



1st Place – East Ridge High School
2nd Place – Lake Minneola High School

3rd Place – Fort Pierce Central High School
4th Place – Strawberry Crest High School
5th Place – Eastside High School



1st Place – Tarpon Springs High School
2nd Place – Eustis High School
3rd Place – Leon High School
4th Place – South Lake High School
5th Place – East Ridge High School



1st Place – East Ridge High School
2nd Place – Hialeah Gardens High School
3rd Place – JP Taravella High School
4th Place – Dixie Hollins High School
5th Place – Leon High School