CHS culinary program receives $5,000 grant from Rachael Ray Foundation

Chipley High School will receive $5,000 in special funding to update and expand their ProStart program thanks to Rachael Ray Foundation. CHS was one of just 27 schools nationwide to receive the grant after student Diamond Hamilton and instructor Sandra Solger submitted the application.

Through the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grants, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) will provide the 27 grants, totaling $135,000, to ProStart schools that have demonstrated a strong need to engage and educate high school students interested in exploring restaurant and foodservice jobs and careers.  

Winning schools were required to demonstrate how the program is positively impacting their students and the community.

“I never thought that little Chipley would win, but we did, and I am very honored to have received this for our school,” said Solger.

ProStart, a two-year career and technical education program focused on culinary arts and restaurant management, is offered in 1,700 schools across the country and currently enrolls 130,000 students. 

This school year, ProStart educators have largely adapted to the COVID-19 restrictions with a mix of virtual and in-person learning, posing challenges for students to learn the hands-on skills the program often requires. 

Those unique challenges are part of what Hamilton and Solger addressed in the grant application, with Hamilton stressing that the culinary program teaches more than food preparation, nutrition, and safety. The student said the program is also about perseverance.

“ProStart and Mrs. Solger have taught us to manage our time, work as teammates, communicate, and have patience with each other,” wrote Hamilton in the grant application. “We now have endurance to keep going, even when we get tired.”

Funding from the RRF ProStart Grow Grant will enable CHS to expand its culinary program under SolgerÂ’s leadership.

“ProStart educators and students have persevered through this difficult year and are continuing to pursue their passions for restaurants and foodservice against all odds” said Rachael Ray, television personality and philanthropist. “The Rachael Ray Foundation is proud to support their dreams to become future chefs and restaurateurs and provide them with the resources they need to be successful in their classrooms. We can’t wait to see what these students will accomplish.”

The CHS culinary program will be able to use the funds from the Rachael Ray Foundation starting this year. To stay connected to their plans, follow them on Facebook under Chipley Culinary.