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Metairie, LA- The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) Board of Directors, through its Scholarship Fund, will award $57,000 in scholarships to 34 students. The recipients will be honored at the event, "Serving the Future-Celebrating Careers in Hospitality," March 30, 2017 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 $390,000 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 for the third consecutive year is Kerry Ford. Ford is a graduate of Destrehan High School/St. Charles Satellite Center and is attending the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.
The LRAEF ProStart® Scholarship is presented to students who have or will receive the National ProStart Certificate of Achievement. This year's recipients are:
- Ryan Alack, attending Hammond High Magnet School, will attend the Culinary Institute of America
- Gabrielle Clayton, graduate of Lutcher High School/St. James Career & Technology Center, attending Nicholls State University
- Jenna Duryea, graduate of Lakeshore High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Taylor Guidry, attending Dutchtown High School/Ascension Parish ProStart, will attend Nicholls State University
- Kyong Han, graduate of Dutchtown High School/Ascension Parish ProStart, attending Nicholls State University
- Evan Landry, graduate of Denham Springs High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Ty Lassere, attending St. James High School/St. James Career & Technology Center, will attend Nicholls State University
- Claire LeBlanc, attending Fontainebleau High School, will attend Nicholls State University
- Meifung Liu, graduate of Fontainebleau High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Taylor Mattox, graduate of West Feliciana High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Mallory Miller, graduate of Sulphur High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Rachel Opbroek, graduate of Caddo Magnet High School/Caddo Career & Technology Center ProStart, attending Northwestern State University
- Gianna Nastasi, graduate of Lakeshore High School, attending Southeastern Louisiana University
- Joshua Wheater, attending Career Magnet Center/Lafourche Parish ProStart, will attend Nicholls State University
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:
- Jenna Allen, graduate of Erath High School, attending University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- Yajarrah Curtis, graduate of Baker High School, attending Louisiana Culinary Institute
- Ciara Finley, graduate of McDonogh 35 Senior High School, attending Louisiana Culinary Institute
- TaShira Green, graduate of Zachary High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Shanna Legier, graduate of False River Academy, attending Louisiana Culinary Institute
- Dakota Mackles, attending St. Charles Catholic High School, will attend Nicholls State University
- Taylor Mason, graduate of Anacoco High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Katie Ontiveros, graduate of Vista High School, attending University of New Orleans
- Rachel Pierce, graduate of Parkway High School, attending Nicholls State University
- Devin Powell, graduate of H.L. Bourgeois High School, attending Louisiana Culinary Institute
- Valeria Radchenko, graduate of Academy of Our Lady, attending University of Holy Cross
- Steven Van Zandt, graduate of St. Paul's School, attending University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- Cierra Varnado, graduate of New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, attending Nicholls State University
- Joni Watson, graduate of Early College Academy, attending University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- Kiersten Wegmann, graduate of Chalmette High School, attending Nicholls State University
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 recipients are:
- Elizabeth Durr, graduate of Glenbrook School, attending Northwestern State University
- Bianca Jones, graduate of Natchitoches Central High School, attending Louisiana State University
The Louisiana Seafood Scholarship is awarded annually to qualified applicants who show an interest in cultivating, protecting and promoting Louisiana Seafood. The scholarship was established in 2013 through a partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board. This year's recipients are:
- Alex Migliore, graduate of Brother Martin High School, attending University of New Orleans
- Hunter Trahan, graduate of Lakeshore High School, attending Nicholls State University
"The best part of my role as Chair of the LRA Education Foundation is having the opportunity to recognize students for their hard work," said LRAEF Chair Peter Sclafani. "I have no doubt that these scholarships will help our 34 recipients to become leaders and innovators in the restaurant and hospitality industry."
The LRAEF will also honor its ProStart Educator of Excellence, Steven Oubre of Woodlawn High School. Oubre will also be recognized in May, along with his counterparts from across the country, at the National Restaurant Association's Educator of Excellence Awards in Chicago, for their exemplary dedication to the ProStart program.
2017 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- Atmos Energy, Baton Rouge Epicurean Society, Ben E. Keith, Delaware North, Ecolab and Louisiana Culinary Institute; Two Diamond- Besh Restaurant Group and Louisiana Gas Association and One Diamond-Capitol City Produce. 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 60 high schools statewide and more than 1,600 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 are expected to generate sales of $8.9 billion in 2017. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from www.lra.org.