PIERRE — The South Dakota Retailers Association announced Thursday that Kathy Engst, an instructor at Huron High School has been recognized with the 2018 South Dakota ProStart Educator Excellence Award. Engst will join other top educators in Chicago, Ill., for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart Educator Excellence Awards Dinner on May 17.
The NRAEF’s ProStart Educator Excellence Award recognizes an exceptional ProStart educator from every state. ProStart is a nationwide two-year program for high school students that provide vital training skills for students so they are prepared to enter South Dakota’s hospitality workforce.
“Mrs. Engst has been a great teacher; most of us have had her all four years of our high school experience. She has been a very supportive and encouraging teacher, she always pushes us to do the best we can.” said a few of her students. They go on to say “She has taught us many different skill sets to use in the kitchen, from knife skills to cooking safely. Mrs. Engst is a teacher who is dedicated to helping her students in the journey towards a better understanding of culinary arts. She also taught us the importance of teamwork and how to communicate better.”
“South Dakota’s hospitality industry will be rewarded with a well-trained workforce from the dedication our ProStart® instructors place on the program. Each instructor teaches the next generation of workforce the skills that employers will demand in the future.” said South Dakota ProStart Coordinator Seanna Regynski.
“I have found the ProStart courses very rewarding in that it challenges and pushes me to be a better educator,” said Engst “I enjoy seeing their enthusiasm grow as they conquer and master their culinary skills. ProStart is a great program for students to explore and expand their culinary skills as well as developing team work skills and in building confidence.”
Engst is in her ninth year as a ProStart instructor. Regynski says she was the clear choice for the 2018 South Dakota ProStart Educator Excellent Award based on her passion for the ProStart program, her excellence in the classroom and her commitment to the her students.
ProStart is a nationwide high school curriculum developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). It helps prepare high school students for leadership positions in the workplace by teaching skills which are crucial in any place of employment. Combining hands-on learning in the classroom with mentored work experience, the program provides education on culinary skills, safety, inventory, cost controls, customer service, business math, and other practical business management skills. ProStart® reaches nearly 40,000 students in all 50 states, Guam and at Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific. In South Dakota, 17 schools offer the ProStart program.
In South Dakota, the ProStart program is coordinated by the South Dakota Retailers Association in conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Education.