For the fourth consecutive year, the Whitley County High School Culinary Arts Program has been named to the 2019 Elite 50, an annual selection of the top 50 secondary school hospitality programs in the nation.
“We are again honored to be one of the Elite 50 hospitality programs in the country. Our students, under the leadership of Veronica Carmical, have once again achieved excellence in their chosen field. We are proud and excited that our hospitality program continues to ascend,” said Whitley County High School Principal Bob Lawson.
The Elite 50 list recognizes high schools as well as career and technical centers that have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in hospitality education. These schools set the standard for secondary school training in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and/or
These elite programs are also marked by strong enrollment and a dedication to community outreach. Many of this year’s Elite 50 programs have won state and national competitions for ProStart, SkillsUSA and Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
“I recall when we were first named to the National Elite 50 list my overall reaction was of the incredible honor Sullivan University had bestowed upon the culinary arts program. To continue to be named to this list for four consecutive years is utterly vindicating for my
students and I. The real foundation of this award rests in the work students, who graduated several years ago, began and has been continued and expanded upon each and every year. It is as much an honor for current students as it is for the alumni of the Family and Consumer Sciences Department’s Culinary Arts Program,” said FCCLA Adviser Veronica Carmical.
“When you consider the variety and size of programs across the county, receiving this award is much more meaningful to us primarily because our facility is much like a standard family and consumer science classroom. To earn this while other schools have vast commercially equipped facilities, where students spend several periods a day in class and have formally trained chefs for their instructors, this makes continued recognition all the more meaningful as we don’t have those incredible resources available to us.”
Carmical added that as I-75, which is one of the most travelled highways in the county, runs directly through our county, the community has a unique and perhaps untapped potential for increased economic benefit through hospitality-based businesses and services.
“It is my hope that we will be able to one day expand to become the standard provider to employers in our region. Our students are trained not just in culinary arts, but the entirety of the field of hospitality as well,” Carmical noted.
The National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan University in Louisville oversees the selection process for the Elite 50 list.
“We also conducted research to establish schools with strong hospitality enrollment and influence in their community,” said Angela Gill, Associate Director of Admissions at Sullivan University. “Included are many schools we specifically paid visits to that we deemed to have strong hospitality programs.”
More than 350 schools designated as Hospitality Programs of Distinction were invited to apply for the honor of being named to the Elite 50 list. Criteria for the schools selected for the Elite 50 included an original recipe with photos or a restaurant management design and instructor educational/certification background and informational materials, such as videos or brochures about the school’s program.
Further consideration was given to schools that operate a restaurant or catering service as part of their culinary and hospitality training.
The National Center for Hospitality Studies at Sullivan University is known as one of the finest postsecondary hospitality training institutions in the nation and offers programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, hotel and restaurant management, event management and tourism and hospitality management.
Every year, graduates from the National Center for Hospitality Studies pursue successful careers in virtually every corner of the globe and every aspect of the hospitality industry.