Region Two gets another national certification

13 years ago

Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Elna Seabrooks
NE-CulinaryArtsCertified-dclr-pt-4SWEET SEASON ENDER — Logan Shaffer, left, and fellow student Kameron Lincoln, both high school seniors, decorate basketball cookies for the Rec Center’s Tykes and Peewees. Children in grades 1-4 will play their parents and get a certificate for participating along with the cookies. Observing are Cathy Bither, culinary arts instructor, and Michael Howard, director of the Region Two School of Applied Technology. Shaffer and Lincoln both agreed they liked the program and have learned from it.

By Elna Seabrooks
Staff Writer

    HOULTON — National certification of the culinary arts program at the Region Two School of Applied Technology is so new, the directors only have an e-mail and will have to wait a couple of weeks for the official document to arrive in the mail.
    “We received news from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) that we were certified for three years. We’ve been working for two years on this,” said Cathy Bither, culinary arts instructor. Michael Howard, director of the Region Two School of Applied Technology, said getting the national credential for the culinary arts program carries with it several benefits. “Her students are able to take the ACF junior culinary exam. It gives them a step up. If they take the exam and pass, it’s a feather in their cap,” Howard said. He added that the credential also enables students to apply for scholarships through ACF.
    In short, the national credential validates the school’s training and acknowledges that it provides entry-level education for college and necessary work-ready skills for employment. To get that certification, Howard explained that a delegation from ACF spent two days at the program reviewing all the documentation, Bither’s credentials, the program itself and even the school’s equipment to ensure that the site met ACF’s national standards.
    “They came in October and we had to wait until January because the ACF board only meets twice a year — January and July. They look at everything,” Howard stated.
    Bither added that the process also involved completing more than 60 pages to answer such questions about the program as its mission and goals as well as the level of skills and competency that students must meet. Bither is currently working on a handbook for students with program requirements, goals and the grading system.
    One of the current students, Kameron Lincoln, is a high school senior who gave kudos to the program. “I really like it. It will give me lots to do when I’m older. And, I’ll be able to cook for my wife.” Fellow classmate, Logan Shaffer, is also a senior and said, “it’s really nice because I have learned a lot about cooking.”
    Of the current 23 high school juniors and seniors, three seniors plan to pursue a career in the food service industry, according to Bither, who said they have already been accepted at Lincoln Culinary Institute in Connecticut. Lincoln, considered to be among the top post-secondary schools in the field, has four campuses in Connecticut, one in West Palm Beach, Fla. and one in Columbia, Md.
    Howard said every career and technical school in the state is supposed to be working toward becoming nationally certified which ensures that the students are receiving an appropriate education to go on to post-secondary schooling or the workplace. In addition to culinary arts, the health sciences, forest management, early childhood education and welding programs are certified.
    Howard said the school is working toward certification for the automotive, auto body and business programs. In February he and his instructors will recruit students for Region Two’s fall programs. For more information call 532-9541.