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FROM MASS. RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION
Melissa McLaughlin won the ProStart Teacher Excellence Award for 2004.
The Massachusetts Restaurant Association has named Brockton High School Culinary Arts Teacher Melissa McLaughlin as the winner of the 2004 ProStart Teacher Excellence Award. Ms. McLaughlin and winners from other states will be feted at the National Restaurant Association's annual Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago in May.
"Melissa is a very dedicated teacher who has worked hard to make the ProStart program a success at Brockton High School," said Carol Campomizzi, Director of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Hospitality Institute. "She has motivated her students to achieve; encouraging them to continue their education at the next level. We are proud to have her in our program."
McLaughlin leads the Culinary Arts program at Brockton High School and she and her students run the Fine Arts Café, an in-school luncheon restaurant that serves administrators, teachers and staff. McLaughlin, who has taught at the school for the past 12 years, said she is pleased and proud to have won the award.
"I'm honored to have been chosen for this prestigious award, and I'm very excited to attend the expo in Chicago this spring," she said. "This award is not just for me, but for the students I've had who have made successful careers in the restaurant industry."
The ProStart Program is a nationally recognized program that helps prepare high school students for careers in restaurant and food service management through a two-year standardized curriculum. Brockton High School adopted the ProStart curriculum in 2002.
Students take academic courses in restaurant management and food preparation and also complete 450 hours of internship time in a restaurant in the area. During their internships, students are assessed by McLaughlin and their supervisor in 55 criteria sets that they must master in order to earn a Mass. Restaurant Association certificate. The certificate is an acknowledgement of the students' culinary arts training and often helps them to secure good jobs in the restaurant industry upon graduation.
"The curriculum is extensive, its two full years of accounting, inventory control, restaurant management and food preparation," McLaughlin said. "The biggest link, though, is the link to culinary arts colleges and institutions. By completing this program, students get credit toward their college degrees, sometimes as much as 16 credits. The courses they have already completed they won't have to take or pay for in college."
Campomizzi, who nominated McLaughlin for the award, said one of the reasons she felt the teacher deserved recognition was because McLaughlin helped six Class of 2003 seniors secure $14,500 in scholarships to local culinary arts colleges. McLaughlin helped the students with their applications and paperwork, and wrote recommendation letters for them.
Last year, a team of six Culinary Arts students from Brockton High School won third place at Newbury College's annual Culinary Expo. Four of the students now attend Newbury College's Culinary Institute, and one is enrolled at Johnson & Wales University.
Jeffrey Roderiques, Director of Occupational Education at Brockton High School, said McLaughlin is a good teacher who encourages her students to work to their full potential.
"Last year, we had a significant number of youngsters who went on to college because Melissa worked so closely with them. She is very effective, she's compassionate. She embraces youngsters and tries to help them along, no matter what their difficulties," Roderiques said. "This award is a pat on the back for Melissa and for the program."