Students Shine at annual Foundation Scholarship Awards Event

May 9, 2018

2018 CRF Scholarship Awards



Last night we had the honor to award $41,000 in scholarships to graduating ProStart and college students, and to recognize the contributions of the teachers and mentors that make this program so successful.


For the past 20 years, Colorado ProStart has been the cornerstone of our workforce development efforts. Today, we serve 38 high schools and more than 900 students statewide with a program that is nationally recognized as a top model for student success and industry engagement.


We could not have reached this milestone without our partner Sysco Denver. They have been a constant supporter of the Foundation, and a true advocate for our scholarships and our programs. We also wish to thank all of our program partners, sponsors, individual donors, and CRA chapters for their ongoing support. This truly is an industry supported effort.


Sysco Denver “Flame of Excellence” Award

Mary June, Adam 12 Five Star Schools

The 2018 Sysco Denver “Flame of Excellence” Award goes to one of ProStart’s best educators, Mary June. This award is given to honor a person who bravely goes out in front and lights the way for others. This year’s recipient has taught the Colorado ProStart program for 19 years. Every year she graduates the highest number of ProStart National Certificate of Achievement recipients, and she has been the Foundation’s “go to person” for event support and program development and enhancement. Sadly, she is retiring after 34 years of teaching. She is an amazing colleague and friend, and she will be missed.


Reaching for the Stars Award

Andrea Knight, The Noshery

This is the first time a Colorado ProStart Alum has received this award. Andrea graduated from the Battle Mountain High School ProStart Program in 2004. Since then her accomplishments and contributions to the Foundation and the industry have been innumerable. She owns the Noshery Restaurant, continues to employ and mentor ProStart graduates, she serves on the CRA and CRF Boards of Directors, serves as a judge at the National and State ProStart Invitational Competitions, and always steps up to provide industry support at the many events the Foundation hosts to raise money. She is a rising star in the Colorado food scene and great industry partner.


2018 ProStart Teacher of the Year

Christina Runyan, Smoky Hill High School

This year’s Teacher of the Year is known for her energetic, creative, and distinctive teaching style, student engagement, and is considered a leader amongst her peers. She serves on the ProStart curriculum enhancement committee and is a strong industry advocate in the classroom. She will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 99th Annual National Restaurant Association Tradeshow in Chicago where she will be honored at a special event by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and receive the 2018 Educator Excellence Award.


2018 Mentor of the Year

Matt Vawter, Chef de Cuisine and Proprietor at Mercantile Dining and Provisions

Our Mentor of the year recently had a “big night” …His son was born and Alex Siedel, his colleague at the Mercantile Dining and Provisions, won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest. Matt first came to our attention more than 15 years ago when he was a student enrolled in the Summit ProStart program. His accomplishments were many during his tenure in ProStart and as a result, he received our 2003 ProStart Industry Achievement Award. Not surprising, after years of establishing his own successful career, he is paying it forward by walking back into the classroom to mentor the Colorado ProStart students at Summit High School. We are proud and deeply honored to present the 2018 Industry Mentor of the Year Award to one of our own, Summit High School mentor, Matt Vawter, Chef de Cuisine and Proprietor at Mercantile Dining and Provisions.


2018 ProStart Academic Student of the Year Award

Shelby Toler, Golden High School

This year’s recipient is an outstanding young woman. Her achievements speak to her academic commitment maintaining an overall GPA of 4.372 and through ProStart, she is dual enrolled in college at MSU Denver. Her honors include 3rd place in the ProStart Invitational Culinary Competition, 3rd in the nation in the Nasa Hunch Culinary Challenge Competition, received Golden H.S. Presidents Education Award, served as an FCCLA officer, played girls tennis, participated in book, food, and toy drives…and somehow found time to work an industry job at Saucy Buns BBQ. She received a renewable $11,500 JWU President’s Academic scholarship to pursue a Baking and Pastry with Food Service Management degree this fall. As the 2018 ProStart Academic Student of the Year, she also receives a $2,000 TKM Foundation scholarship.


2018 ProStart Industry Student of the Year Award

Kyle Tatlock, Grandview High School

This year’s award recipient is dual enrolled in college at MSU Denver. He started his industry career at YaYa’s Euro Bistro in 2016, served as captain on the Grandview ProStart Invitational Culinary Competition team, provided event support that include Denver Food + Wine Festival and Soup and Bowl fundraisers, he accomplished this while playing competitive hockey. His supervisor at YaYa’s wrote, “About 2 years ago, he was hired as a cook and I was his sous chef. From the beginning he had a strong desire to learn the craft of culinary arts. He is always the first to jump in to help, problem-solve, and ask the right questions to better his knowledge … he has proven to be a great leader amongst his peers and shown proper respect to those in our kitchen that have been doing this for longer than he has been alive. I have seen him grow from a person who likes to cook to a true young, inspiring culinarian.” He plans to attend MSU Denver this fall. As the 2018 ProStart Industry Student of the Year, he also receives a $2,000 Sysco Denver scholarship.


2018 Post-Secondary Scholarships 

Epicurean Culinary Group $2,000 scholarship - Julie Bosworth, ACF
Logan Yoke Memorial $1,000 scholarship - Hilary Harris, Johnson & Wales University
Seattle Fish Company $1,000 scholarship - Derek Irick, Colorado Mountain College
Mick Laurita Memorial $2,000 scholarship - Grace Dant, University of Denver
Mick Laurita Memorial $2,000 scholarship - Laura Wagner, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Italco Food Products $2,000 scholarship - Caitlyn Baylie, Johnson & Wales University
TKM Foundation $1,000 scholarship - Lindsay McEwan, CSU
CRA Mile High Chapter $2,000 scholarship - Ethan Virgil, Metropolitan State University of Denver
CRA Mile High Chapter/Jim Smith Memorial $1,000 scholarship - Jenny Reenan, ACF
Weil Family Foundation $2,500 scholarship - Claire Caviglia, University of Denver
Weil Family Foundation $2,500 scholarship - Mario Talavera, JWU
Weil Family Foundation $2,500 scholarship - Nicole Vanderbug, University of Denver
Zuus Dynamic Scheduling $5,000 scholarship - Daniel Molina, Colorado Mountain College 


2018 Outstanding ProStart Students

Oriana Noble, Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Rosa Mendoza, Adams City High School
Margaret Sundeth, Coronado High School
Julia Arnold, East High School
Diana Morales, Gateway High School
Shelby Toler, Golden High School
Evyn Batie, Mountain View High School
Kaylie Borski, Northridge High School
Hannah Dooley, St. Vrain Career Development Center
Madeline Glunz, ThunderRidge High School
Shelby Gertson, Westminster High School
Kaylee Peterson, Windsor High School
Ameris James, Woodland Park High School
Kylie Orf, YouthEntity Roaring School District


2018 ProStart Scholarships

FoodMatch $500 scholarship - Pheonix Castaneda, Central High School
Al and Dorothy Jarrell $2,000 scholarship - Emily Bell, Summit High School
TKM Foundation $1,000 scholarship - Riley Ballard, Early College High School & Career Pathways
TKM Foundation $1,000 scholarship - Makayla Brunell, Grandview HS Outstanding student
TKM Foundation $1,000 scholarship - Jacorri Daughtry, Grandview High School
TKM Foundation $1,000 scholarship - Raven Mendoza-Schneider, Grandview High School
Mick Laurita Memorial $1,000 scholarship - Isabell Rossi, Woodland Park High School
Mick Laurita Memorial $1,000 scholarship - Noah Kelley, ThunderRidge High School
Italco Food Products $1,000 scholarship - Mario Flores, MountainView High School
Italco Food Products $1,000 scholarship - Morgan Lozano, ThunderRidge High School
CRA Pikes Peak Chapter/Jim Rogers Memorial $1,500 scholarship - Jasmine Frappier, Early College H.S. Career Pathways

ProStart Invitational and Sysco Denver Hospitality Cup Competition

Bronze Medalists Culinary Competition - Golden High School
Silver Medalists Culinary Competition - ThunderRidge High School
Silver Medalists Management Competition - Youth Entity Roaring Fork School District
Gold Medalists Culinary Competition - Youth Entity Roaring Fork School District
Gold Medalists Management Competition - Grandview High School…Grandview H. S. just recently placed 5th in the National ProStart Invitational Competition where they were awarded an additional $15,000 in scholarship opportunities.

Sponsors & Thank Yous

We would like to acknowledge and thank the following Foundation sponsors and scholarship partners; presenting sponsor Sysco Denver, supporting sponsors Johnson & Wales University, TKM Foundation, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits of Colorado, Seattle Fish Company, Weil Family Foundation, the Laurita Family and Italco Food Products, Zuus Dynamic Scheduling, Terri Vantiger, Epicurean Culinary Group, Republic National Distributing Company, and the CRA Mile High and Pikes Peak Chapters.


We’d also like to recognize our workforce development partner the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment. Because of their financial support over the past 3 years, the foundation as grown the Colorado ProStart Program from 26 to 38 high schools and has funded more than $800,000 directly into classrooms to support ServSafe certifications, start up businesses, curriculum enhancements, technology, equipment, competitions, and scholarship opportunities for students.


Our delicious food provided tonight came from Executive Chef Robert Grant of Green Point Catering and ProStart Alum from Grandview High School, Andrea Knight from the Noshery, our Colorado ProStart students from Mountain View, Englewood, St. Vrain Career Development Center, and Gateway High School few thank them for their wonderful contributions to tonight’s event.


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