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August 28, 2013

Local Teacher Honored with Salute to Excellence Award

Marie Collins, an administrator at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, is honored as the ProStart® Mentor of the Year as part of the 2013 Salute to Excellence Awards, presented by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation.

Marie Collins is a respected leader and mentor who is passionate about the restaurant industry. Since 2001, she has been instrumental in working with juniors and seniors as part of the Badger High School culinary arts program, providing countless volunteer hours and helping to strengthen the ProStart® program in Wisconsin.

ProStart® is a college prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. As part of the program, Collins helped coach Badger’s student teams in preparing for Wisconsin’s ProStart® Invitational culinary and management competitions held during the Midwest Foodservice Expo. She has also been a solid support structure during each of the six appearances the Badger team has made at the National ProStart Invitational.

“Marie is a great asset to our ProStart program,” says Russ Tronsen, a culinary arts instructor at Badger High School. “She has nurtured our students in a way that gives that additional boost of confidence that has helped our students excel in competition.”

Collins has also coordinated networking meetings for students and industry professionals, secured grant funding for the program, supported fundraisers held by the school, assisted students applying for scholarships and spent countless hours supporting the program.

“Marie is very deserving of this award,” said Tronsen. “She has given so many of our students the wherewithal to become successful both in post-secondary education and in the world of work.”

Collins’ business development expertise and contributions are of great value to students, foodservice educators and industry professionals. Through her leadership, she has demonstrated amazing dedication to students and to the future of the industry to make her a well-deserved recipient of this award. The WRA and Education Foundation proudly presents Marie Collins with the ProStart® Mentor of the Year Award for her compassion for young people and her spirit of giving.

“Marie has demonstrated amazing dedication to the foodservice industry,” says Bryan Mowry, Managing Director of the WRA Education Foundation. “Her support of the ProStart® program and mentorship of high school students, in particular, really makes a difference.”

Each year, the WRA EF recognizes five individuals and one company for dedication and commitment to education in the restaurant industry as Salute to Excellence honorees. Other 2013 Salute to Excellence honorees include: Richard Busalacchi (Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee); Peter Gebauer, GMC (Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee); Mark and Jean Landreman (Landreman’s Family Restaurant, Kaukauna); Liz Moehr (Pulaski High School, Pulaski) and New Era Marketing. Each honoree creates opportunities for people interested in foodservice industry careers. They have worked in a variety of roles, in different parts of the state, but they share an enthusiasm and optimism for the future of the restaurant industry.

The Salute to Excellence awards are presented at the 2013 Celebration of Excellence on Sunday, October 13 at Jefferson Street Inn in Wausau. More information on the event is available at www.wirestaurant.org.

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The WRA Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1987 and is one of the nation’s largest state restaurant association foundations. The Foundation vision is to advance professionalism through education, scholarships and community involvement to ensure the future success of the foodservice industry.

The ProStart® program, administered by National Restaurant Association Solutions, LLC and state restaurant associations, is a college-prep, two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Students also have the opportunity to participate in paid internships where industry managers mentor them.

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