News / Economy

High School Students Cook Up Career Skills

High School Students Cook Up Career Skills i
May 08, 2013 3:59 PM
While many high school students plan to go to college to study medicine, law or engineering, other students want to pursue careers in culinary arts, construction or auto repair. For those students, courses at a specialized high school may help them get started. Faiza Elmasry visited Thomas Edison High School of Technology in the Washington suburbs where students gain hands-on experience so they can decide whether to pursue such careers or not. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Faiza Elmasry

More than a dozen students from several local high schools come to Thomas Edison High School of Technology in northern Virginia once a day to take a class in culinary arts.

"I just like cooking. I like trying new things," said high school senior Matthew Wimmer, who dreams of becoming a chef. "My grandma and my mom they’re both very big in cooking. After my grandma passed away, it sort of inspired me more to become a better cook, a better chef overall."

Student Kiana Wilkerson loves this program, especially its approach of learning by doing. 

"When I first came in here, I didn’t really know different cooking methods like sautéing," she said.

Her fellow classmate, Lupita Rivera, who wants to become a pastry chef, savors the chance to work in a large, restaurant-style kitchen.

"No other high schools have this," Rivera said. "They give me hands-on stuff, like you can do everything, you can learn more easily."

Their teacher, Chef Teresa Smith, encourages experimentation.

"We try to do as much as we can from scratch. I also want them to have good basic skills including kitchen math, converting recipes from smaller quantities to larger quantities," she said. "I want them to have a sense of cooking methods. So if you have a piece of meat or a piece of fish, instead of memorizing recipes, what’s the best way to utilize that piece of meat or fish? I want them to have good knife skills. We also stress safety and sanitation."

Restaurant management is just one of 18 specialized programs offered at Thomas Edison High School.

"We have a carpentry class, a masonry class, an electricity class, heating, ventilation and air conditioning class, plumbing," said Karen Wilson, the school's community outreach coordinator. "We have automotive technologies. We have auto body repair. We have our printing and graphics class. We have our interior design class. "

There's also a medical career class which teaches students the skills they'll need to pass the certified nursing assistant exam.

In the construction program, students build a house every year.

And in cosmetology, they learn about hair and skin care.

"It’s a very rigorous program," Wilson said. "The students learn about chemistry, anatomy and physiology. And work with real life clients."

Back in the kitchen, Garrett Paseur and his fellow students have finished their latest assignment.

"Today we prepared five different salads," Paseur said. "I made pasta gazpacho salad which is a pasta salad with gazpacho, which is a cool tomato soup with olive, onions, tomatoes, peppers, salt and pepper, lemon and white wine vinegar."

Before leaving for the day, the students taste and evaluate each other’s recipes.

"You can learn different things about what you should have done differently,"  Paseur said. "For example, my dish, a lot of other kids were saying that I should add a little more vinegar. So, next time, I’ll know that. So every day is a learning experience in itself."

That’s how students gain real skills that will allow them to move closer to the careers they'll pursue after their high school careers come to an end.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.