Culinary Students Earn Many Top Honors

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In the last two months, Payson High School students in the culinary arts program have cooked up tons of awards.

In March, junior Shoshanah Wright and senior Leticia Martinez advanced to the finals in the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), each coming out of the competition with scholarship opportunities.

Wright won a summer at the Art Institute of Phoenix and a knife set, while Martinez was awarded $3,000 toward culinary training.

Martinez plans to stay in Arizona and is currently working as a line cook at Gerardo’s Bistro, said PHS culinary teacher Devon Wells.

Then in April, eight culinary students attended the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America State Conference.

Junior Cassie Wiebe won a gold medal while Ben Lee, Wright, Megan Ploughe and Martinez came home with silver medals.

In 2010, a PHS culinary team was the state winner and national representative for Arizona.

Autumn Parrish and Levii Lopez earned bronze medals at the competition.

“The highlight of the conference was when Wright was elected state Family, Career and Community Leaders of America officer,” Wells said. “Way to go, Shoshanah.”

In addition, Sharon Finnie, the Family and Consumer Sciences aide at PHS, was awarded a trophy and honorary membership into the organization for her continued devotion to the students’ competitions and conferences.

“Finnie was totally caught off guard as the chapter cheered her on stage,” Wells said.

Recently, junior FCCLA member Melissa Hill learned she had won a scholarship for a summer in Japan.

“The competition is tough and Melissa sailed through, earning one of the 14 positions in the United States,” Wells said.

Hill will spend four to six weeks in Japan this summer exploring the culinary world. The trip is funded by the Kikkoman Corporation and the Youth for Understanding organization and is worth more than $6,995.

“Medals, scholarships, travel and leadership opportunities will lead Payson’s culinary students ‘Towards New Horizons,’” Wells said. “This happens to be the motto for the Arizona FCCLA organization and truly describes how these teens are making a name for themselves.”

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