Looks Bright: WSJ students cooking up ServSafe certifications
By Monique Roth
EDGARD — Students at West St. John High School are being given the opportunity to cook up success in the school’s kitchen, with five students recently earning ServSafe certifications by completing classroom training hours and passing a national exam.
Jennifer Boquet, communications specialist for the St. John the Baptist Parish School District, said ServSafe is a nationally recognized food safety program taught through WSJ’s ProStart curriculum.
“Students can earn the ServSafe Food Protections Manager Certification by completing classroom training hours and passing and exam given by a certified instructor/proctor,” Boquet said, adding the curriculum is provided through the National Restaurant Association and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute Conference for Food Protection.
The program blends the latest FDA Food Code, food safety research and food sanitation training experience for students to have the opportunity to earn the industry-based certification.
WSJ students KeIra Miller, TreShaun Trench, Anfernee Lumar, Quantae Gaudia and Trey Nathan earned the certification in the first half of the school year.
Miller said she elected to take the family and consumer sciences class and accompanying ServSafe certification course because she figured she could learn how to cook and pick up different skills.
“It could be helpful in my future,” Miller said, adding she thought it was impressive WSJ offered the program “especially because we’re a small school, and a lot of people underestimate us.”
Miller said she was confident her earned certification could help her in the future, especially in getting a part-time job while in college.
Lorenzo Edwards — the family and consumer science teacher, ProStart instructor, ServSafe instructor/proctor and 4-H sponsor at WSJ — said with the certifications students can jump-start their careers in the culinary field by either using it as an advantage to gain meaningful employment or as a means to receive credit for some courses needed to complete a culinary program at colleges and universities.
Because each restaurant is required by law to have at least one employee who is ServSafe certified, Edwards said, the program gives participating students a leg-up on peers who may be applying for the same restaurant jobs.
Nathan said the test required to earn the certification was multiple choice and took approximately an hour and a half to complete.
Nathan said he felt prepared and confident in taking the test, which Edwards said required students to earn a 75 out of possible 100 percentage points.
Approximately 10 students a year complete the certification at WSJ, Edwards said, adding the program seems to be gaining momentum as students see their peers completing it.
“They would want what we had,” Nathan said, smiling when speaking of the food his class would make during their class time.