CTE Culinary Program Helps Students Develop Skills Outside The Classroom

CTE Culinary Program Helps Students Develop Skills Outside The Classroom

When people think of culinary programs offered at New Hampshire’s more than two-dozen Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers, they likely think of skills related to food preparation, which only tells part of the story. “CTE helped prepare me for industry in many ways,” said Sarah Howland, who graduated from Concord Regional Technical Center’s Culinary & Pastry Arts program in 2015. “It helped me develop people skills and a sense of professionalism.”

Now Banquets and Catering Kitchen Manager at Fratello’s Italian Grille in Manchester, Howland said her experience in CTE was important because it gave her an idea of the restaurant industry itself. “CTE taught me to multitask and work efficiently in a fast-paced environment that can be stressful,” she said. “The program helped me grow as an individual personally and professionally.”

For Adam Parker, who will take over Culinary & Pastry Arts in the fall from Chef Bob McIntosh who has led the program for 20 years, Howland’s CTE experience is not necessarily unique. “I’ve been on the program’s advisory committee for the past three years and seen first-hand how CTE in general can shape a student’s perspective on their future,” he said.

This perspective is built on tangible life skills. “Culinary and Pastry Arts teaches the fundamentals of cooking and baking along with social skills, team building, and individual development within an overall progressive learning environment,” said Parker. “These lifelong skills build confidence, leadership, and a tenacious hunger for knowledge built on goal-oriented daily development.”  

As former Director of Operations and Corporate Chef at Fratello’s, Parker also hosted Students-to-Work events and sponsored a culinary scholarship for SkillsUSA NH competitors. “I’ve hired students, some of whom now run their own kitchens,” he added. “In a state struggling to find people to work, CTE is a solution we can tap right now in hospitality and other industries across the state…Sarah’s experience is one of thousands of success stories statewide in a variety of CTE programs.”

Educating students from nine surrounding area high schools through programs that provide specific, career education in career pathways aligned with current and future employment needs, Concord Regional Technical Center (CRTC) is one of 28 CTE centers throughout New Hampshire.

Students Excel at NH Invitational

Students Excel at NH Invitational

In March, dozens of students came together to compete in the categories of Culinary and Management at the New Hampshire ProStart State Invitational.

Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center (MWVCTC) won in the Culinary category while Pinkerton Academy took first in Management.

According to Amie Pariseau of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), however, the story is not going to continue in the way everyone expected.

“Our first place winners were invited to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington D.C. in May, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the regional and national invitational events,” she said.

All is not lost, though, noted Pariseau, who cited several rewards for the student.

“The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation will be providing a gift card worth $150 to each state’s first place culinary arts and restaurant management team members,” she said. The foundation will also be offering a $1,500 scholarship to the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on each state’s winning teams.”

Acknowledging NHLRA shares in the disappointment of the teachers and their students in not being able to experience the Nationals and visit D.C., Pariseau said it does not lessen the students’ achievements.

“NHLRA is working with both schools of the winning teams to provide a way to celebrate their accomplishment with their team and families in some way this summer,” she said. “We’re very proud of them and want to recognize them for their commitment and dedication.”

This commitment and dedication, she said, led to “impressive performances at the ProStart State Invitational.

Kaylee, Jaime, Riley, Tristan and Sierra from MWVCTC created a menu that featured: an appetizer of crispy calamari and lemon served with harissa aioli and chermoula oil; an entrée of moroccan rubbed rack of lamb with pomegranate reduction, lemon-cilantro vinaigrette tossed with rainbow fingerlings, and sautéed vegetable hash; and a dessert of vanilla bean panna cotta served with grapefruit and brown sugar caramel and topped with spiced pistachios.

“They executed this high-level menu in 60 minutes using only two butane burners, no running water, and no electricity,” said Pariseau. “That’s incredible. We were very fortunate to have executive-level and ACF certified chefs as judges, all of whom said the caliber of the menus and the execution by our ProStart students was outstanding.”

In the management category, Pariseau said John, Lily, Angelina, and Matthew from Pinkerton Academy designed Wild Bamboo, an Asian restaurant devoted to the environment and sustainability.

Their menu featured a dumpling soup, bibimap (a Korean rice dish topped with beef sautéed vegetables and a fried egg), duck (statler duck breast seared with the skin on, paired with bamboo rice and a tat soi-mushroom sauce, beef (sliced flank steak sautéed with onions, served with a side of fresh vegetable), and a steam cake.

“The judges were highly impressed by their QR coupon code and the website they designed from scratch,” she said. “We were fortunate to have judges from all facets of the industry. Many of them were ready to hire our very talented students on the spot based on their ideas, creativity and presentation skills.”

Pariseau said competing students will also receive a variety of scholarships from Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, NHTI, White Mountains Community College, Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America.

“Despite COVID-19, there are a lot of positive takeaways for the future from this year’s ProStart State Invitiatonal,” added Pariseau.

To learn more about ProStart, visit https://www.nhlra.com/nhprostart.html.

An Inside Look into LRTC

An Inside Look into LRTC

In 2019, Bruce Farr, Principal of Lakes Region Technical Center (LRTC), received the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, a recognition that underscores for him the importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE) itself.

“Everyone needs a balanced education,” he said. “Public education must provide our young people with an appreciation for the arts, academic skills, civic engagement and job skills.”

This need, he said, has always been top of mind for him.

“Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I witnessed the effect of not having the skills to be successfully employed and the benefits of having valued skills in the workplace,” he said.

For Farr, who has more than 45 years experience in CTE, a continuing issue is that the general public still does not know about this educational arm in the state.

“In many ways, CTE continues to be an unseen ‘jewel’ of public education,” he explained. “Those who have been enrolled in CTE programs or have volunteered in those programs clearly appreciate CTE. However, many of our citizens do not know the opportunities for our students.”

Noting he is personally and professional humbled at receiving the 2019 NHCTE Service Award, Farr expressed particular enthusiasm in his role at helping to modernize NH’s Alternative 4 (Alt 4) program.

“It is a customized process whereby candidates who are highly successful in their field, but lack the traditional formal 4-year teacher preparation degree, are better supported during the certification process,” he said.

The need for Alt 4, he said, cannot be overemphasized.

“A CTE instructor must not only have the ability to successfully teach young people, but they also need extensive firsthand knowledge of their trade/industry,” said Farr.  “We have candidates who are willing to make that mid career change and we need to support them.” 

He described Alt 4 as an “on-ramp for highly qualified people to enter the field.”

“Each individual’s skills are examined and compared to the state teacher competencies, which results in a plan that can be developed to assist him or her acquire those missing skills,” he said. “It’s a terrific program.”

In looking ahead for CTE and LRTC, Farr said he is excited that at the development of a more seamless transition from high school to either direct job placement or post-secondary school.  

“The expansion of CTE to include a rigorous senior year where a student can be enrolled in college, intern in several businesses or start an apprenticeship will support this, too,” he added.

To learn more about LRTC, visit https://www.lakesregiontechcenter.org.

Engineering The Future

Engineering The Future

At Milford High School & Applied Technology Center (ATC), educational experiences in Engineering has opened up possibilities for several students, including junior Veronica Sillerico and senior Matthew Hannon.

“I took Engineering Design to get a better idea of what a career in engineering would be like in my first year of high school,” said Sillerico.

She also participated in the school’s Manufacturing and Externship Program in which three companies–Spraying System, Alene Candles, and Hitchner–work collaboratively to engage students in both educational and working environments.

“I plan to take the Externship Program for next semester,” added Sillerico, who said program at ATC attracted the attention of Congresswoman Annie Kuster last year.

“She visited the school and spoke with students, teachers, the companies involved, and four ambassadors to speak with her at a roundtable discussion, myself included,” she said. “After the meeting, I asked the Vice President of Spraying Systems if I could take a summer internship at the company, which he accepted.”

Sillerico noted she had “a remarkable experience there,” which has led her to seriously consider pursuing a Mechanical Engineering or Computer Programming career.

For Hannon, his aspiration is to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although he plans to attend Virginia Tech, he has also been accepted at Norwich University and SNHU. 

“For a long time, I was looking into aerospace/aeronautical engineering but thought that Mechanical was broad enough that I could apply it to many different fields,” he explained. “I feel that I gained a lot of experience in Mechanical Engineering through the Robotics class I took sophomore year.”

This class, he said, incorporated a lot of problem solving and technical skills that helped intensify his interest in the subject.

“One of my favorite projects was this ‘Crain Robot’ that me and my partner, Jack Vogel, had to build in Robotics,” he said. “I thought it was one of the more difficult robots to build and code and therefore was, in my opinion, the most fun to build.”

Aside from her work in school, Sillerico has pursued other pathways, one of which includes her recent acceptance to BAE’s Women in Technology Program.

“I also wrote an ELO ad campaign developed by Cookson Communication for a Work Based Learning event at Manchester Community College,” she added.

In looking ahead to the future, Hannon said his experience at ATC has helped him appreciate an important concept.

“Failing is going be a part of the learning process,” he said. “Honestly, it makes succeeding all the more amazing when it finally happens.”

Sillerico added, “In this program, I have met new people and learned new ideas and acquired soft skills that I believe impact me as a person and eventually will bring forth greater opportunities.”

Biotechnology Program Receives National Recognition

Biotechnology Program Receives National Recognition

Advanced CTE recently recognized the top eight Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study with the Excellence in Action Award. These programs represent the best of CTE, with each providing clear pathways into college and careers, rigorous academic and technical coursework, strong industry partnerships, and effective work-based learning experiences that offer opportunities for career exploration and subject-matter mastery.

The Biotechnology program of study at Nashua High School North was launched in 2003 to provide learners with rigorous and integrated academic and technical coursework in the biotechnology field. Throughout the two-year program, learners master advanced laboratory techniques most in demand for medical and scientific careers, such as analyzing cell structures, DNA extraction, molecular cloning, chromatography, protein purification and data collection. Learners demonstrate an understanding of the skills they’ve learned by completing a capstone project their first year and a research project their second year. Through dual credit courses with Great Bay Community College, Biotechnology learners can earn up to eight college credits, creating a seamless transition to postsecondary education.

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Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Margaret Callahan, retiring SST Principal

Longtime St. Vincent de Paul board member and Exeter Rotarian Rachael Ela was named Citizen of the Year at the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year awards.

The annual ceremony, which honors businesses and community leaders, took place March 28 at the Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton.

Ela was named Citizen of Year for her numerous contributions over the years to the Exeter community, including her work organizing the annual Rotary Club’s “Stuff a Bus” food drive to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter and for running the club’s annual charity auction. As a past president of the Exeter Area Rotary Club, the group awarded a grant in partnership with Christ Church to provide water filtration systems to Cuba, she said.

Ela said she looked up to the former director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter, Cleo Castonguay, for his generosity and kindness he showed towards those in need during his 30-plus years at the organization before his death last spring at the age of 71. She said one of the first events she ever attended in Exeter after moving to town seven years ago was the Chamber’s Business of the Year Awards when Castonguay received the inaugural Citizen of the Year Award in 2012 and he was the primary reason why she decided to volunteer at the organization.

“Cleo was such an important part of my life and I strive to emulate him as best I can in everything I do, so to be recognized in the same way he was, it’s really beyond comprehension,” Ela said. “This is an incredible honor. Service is a reward in itself; you get so much more than you give. I hope people see the opportunities there are to give back and they ask more questions about how they can get involved serving the community.”

Also recognized was retiring Seacoast School of Technology Principal Margaret Callahan.

Callahan has worked as SST principal for the past 14 years and was honored with the Chairperson’s Award for her years of service at the technical center, which serves five Seacoast school districts beyond SAU 16. She said the enrollment at the school has increased “dramatically” since beginning her tenure and the school now offers 33 dual-enrollment programs, which allow students to earn college credits while taking SST classes.

SST was also recognized as a Business of the Year in the education category by the chamber.

“This was an incredible honor when I looked around the room; it was just so inspiring to be in the same company as everyone there who serve the community so well. A lot of them have been great supporters of SST through the years,” Callahan said. “Our certifications are just as valuable as a degree depending on the industry. Students and families see the value in tech education and if it’s something they think they want to pursue professionally; our programs are designed to prepare them as much as possible.”

The other individual award winners included Cooperative Middle School English teacher Melissa Tobey as Educator of the Year; Derek Foley of Liberty Mutual as Ambassador of the Year, and Chamber Director of Member Partnerships Bobbi Vandenbulcke received the President’s Award.

The other Business of the Year winners were Clean by Sea, for business services; ReVision Energy, for manufacturing, construction or real estate; Staples, as a large retail or wholesale business; Wireless Zone, as a small retail or wholesale business; Sea Dog Brewing Company, for large tourism and hospitality; Laney & Lu, for small tourism and hospitality; St. Vincent de Paul, as a non-profit; Elliot Evans, of Edward Jones, for independent financial services; and Kennebunk Savings Bank, for commercial financial services.

Jennifer Wheeler, president of the chamber, said each of the award winners made significant contributions to making the Exeter area a thriving community.

“We are so proud of this year’s award winners,” Wheeler said. “There is so much to celebrate in our communities and it is important that we take time to recognize these outstanding businesses and individuals who continue to make this region a vibrant community to live, work and play.”

Exeter Hospital was the Business of the Year Awards’ diamond sponsor and Mark Whitney, vice president of strategic planning at Exeter Health Resources, said though the hospital is a major economic driver in the region, maintaining a healthy community takes the entire business community pulling together in the same direction.

“We see both Exeter Health Resources and the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce as community leaders and catalysts and that is why we value our partnership so deeply,” Whitney said. “Improving the health of the community is a team sport and we like being part of this team.”

LaCasse, Alex, and Alex LaCasse. “Exeter Chamber Honors Community Leaders, Businesses.” Seacoastonline.com, Seacoastonline.com, 4 Apr. 2019, www.seacoastonline.com/news/20190404/exeter-chamber-honors-community-leaders-businesses.