FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:

Erica P. Burns
(504) 454-2277
eburns@lra.org 

Metairie, LA—The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) Board of Directors, through its Scholarship Fund, will award $48,000 in scholarships to 20 students. The recipients will be honored at the event, “Serving the Future—Celebrating Careers in Hospitality,” February 26, 2018 at Generations Hall in New Orleans.

The LRAEF Scholarship Fund was created in 2009 to provide financial support for individuals interested in furthering their education to support a career in the culinary, hospitality, or related industries. Since its inception, the Scholarship Fund has awarded $438,000 to deserving students.

The LRAEF’s most prestigious award, the Jim Funk Scholarship, is named for the former LRA President & CEO who guided the creation of the LRAEF during his 30 years with the organization. This year’s recipient of the Jim Funk Scholarship is Evan Landry. Landry is a graduate of Denham Springs High School and is attending Nicholls State University. He is a third year recipient of a LRAEF Scholarship award.

The LRAEF ProStart® Scholarship is presented to students who have or will receive the National ProStart Certificate of Achievement. This year’s recipients are:

  • Sara Baiamonte, attending Hammond High Magnet School, will attend Nicholls State University.
  • Janesa Buras, attending Fontainebleau High School, will attend Nicholls State University
  • Blane Coley, attending West Feliciana High School, will attend Nicholls State University
  • Jenna Duryea, graduate of Lakeshore High School, attending Nicholls State University (third year recipient)
  • Ida Henry, graduate of John Ehret High School, attending Delgado Community College
  • Claire LeBlanc, graduate of Fontainebleau High School, attending Nicholls State University. (second year recipient)
  • Brock Nichols, attending Sulphur High School, will attend Nicholls State University
  • Kiara Smith, attending Hammond High Magnet School, will attend the University of New Orleans

The LRA Board Fund Scholarship is presented to students who intend to pursue a career in the restaurant, foodservice, tourism or hospitality industry. This Fund is supported through a generous annual donation by the LRA Board of Directors. This year’s recipients are:

  • Autumn Canova, currently being homeschooled, will attend Louisiana Culinary Institute
  • Elizabeth Cummins, graduate of Glenbrook High School, attending Northwestern State University
  • Brighten Dudley, attending West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School, will attend Louisiana Culinary Institute
  • Jesse Everett, graduate of National Guard—LA Youth Challenge Program, attending Louisiana Culinary Institute
  • Dustin Rockwell, graduate of Slidell High School, attending Nicholls State University
  • Madison Segura, attending New Iberia Senior High School, will attend Nicholls State University
  • Daniel St. Etienne, attending Brother Martin High School/New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, will attend Nicholls State University
  • Jason Stant, attending Brother Martin High School, will attend University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Cierra Varnado, graduate of New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, attending University of Holy Cross (second year recipient)
  • Kiersten Wegmann, graduate of Chalmette High School, attending Nicholls State University (third year recipient)

The LRA Cenla Chapter Scholarship is provided to students residing in central Louisiana who are pursuing a career in the culinary or hospitality industry. It was established in 2015 with a generous contribution from the LRA Cenla Chapter. The recipient is:

  • Bianca Jones, graduate of Natchitoches Central High School, attending Louisiana State University (third year recipient)

“Recognizing these students for their hard work and dedication is the most rewarding part of my role as Chair of the LRA Education Foundation,” said LRAEF Chair Paul Rotner. “These scholarships will help these and future recipients become leaders and innovators in the restaurant and hospitality industry.”

The LRAEF will also honor its ProStart Educator of Excellence, Amy Dreher of West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville. Dreher will also be recognized in May, along with her counterparts from across the country, at the National Restaurant Association’s Educator of Excellence Awards in Chicago, for her exemplary dedication to the ProStart program.

2018 LRAEF Annual Partners: Five Diamond- Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; Four Diamond- Performance Foodservice- Caro; Three Diamond- Baton Rouge Epicurean Society and Delaware North; Two Diamond- Louisiana Gas Association and One Diamond- Katie’s Restaurant and Patrick J. Gros, CPA. The LRAEF would also like to thank the nine chapters of the LRA for their support throughout the year.

###

ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

ProStart is a two-year, culinary management program for high school juniors and seniors with a curriculum designed to teach students culinary techniques as well as restaurant management skills. ProStart is in 58 high schools statewide and more than 2,000 students participate in the program.  

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation exists to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is one the state’s largest private employers, providing jobs to 207,700 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana generated sales of $8.9 billion in 2017. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from www.lra.org.