Howard County students take top spot at ProStart Invitational

Howard County high school students took home the top spots at the Maryland ProStart Student Invitational earlier this month.

Held March 7 at the Baltimore Convention Center, the ProStart Invitational is a state culinary and hospitality management competition sponsored by the Restaurant Association of Maryland.

Culinary and Hotel and Restaurant Management Academies from Howard County schools took home three of the top six prizes.

The combined Culinary Academy from Howard High School and Applications and Research Laboratory, both in Ellicott City, took first place in the culinary competition. That team is made up of for students Darcey Bodziony, Jessie Green, Kiran Martin, Natalie Singleton and Emma Spalding. They’re taught by Rhonda Lang at ARL and Dayna Spoto at Howard. They are mentored by Marc Dixon, chef at Bistro Blanc.

The Culinary Academy from Glenelg High School in Glenelg took third place in the at competition with a team comprised of . The team is Gabriel Dang, Julian Jimenez, Amanda Martin and Michael Lober. They’re taught by Kerry Johnson, and mentored by Tom Caswell, chef at Cattail Creek Country Club.

The Hotel and Restaurant Management Academy from Howard took second place in the hospitality management competition. That team is made up of students Aniedi Andrew, Javon Blackwell, Samm Francois and Bree Moore. They are taught by Emma Dawe.

Johnson, the teacher at Glenelg, was named Maryland’s ProStart Teacher of the Year at the event, and will be formerly recognized at the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s annual Salute to Excellence in May.

The first-place win for the Culinary Academy from Howard and ARL sends those students to the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore next month. According to the school system, a county team has won first place seven of the nine years the national competition has been held.

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