Meridian, ID - A culinary arts program in the West Ada School District recently received the 2017 Exemplary Award from the Idaho State Department of Education.
It's lunchtime at Renaissance High School, which means the culinary arts students are busy preparing, cooking and serving food to customers.
"It's really busy and service is really fun," said student Morgan Hinkle. "It's really exciting."
The magnet program, just one of the district's options for career and technical education, is hands-on, to say the least.
"We serve on Thursdays and Fridays, and the students rotate through different positions as they do that," said Vern Hickman, chef instructor.
Hickman, along with two other chefs, teach students from high schools across West Aa the basics of operating a restaurant.
"We learn baking and serving, knife skills and how to properly cook food," Hinkle said.
Morgan Hinkle, a senior at Eagle High School, plans on attending the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute after graduation.
From internships to networking, even job opportunities, the mission is simple.
"My goal is to give them the skills they need to cook, whether they decide to go into food service as a profession or not," Hickman said. "When they get through this program, they're going to have skills. They're going to be a good cook for the rest of their life."
The award is given annually to a career and technical program that provides quality teaching, curriculum and current industry-aligned equipment and practices.