Summit School District places in competitions |

Summit School District places in competitions

Terri Vantiger interacts with a Summit High School student during her culinary class in this file photo from 2013. Vantiger recently helped guide the four-member ProStart culinary team to a second-place finish in the annual state competition.
Jaimee Borger / Special to the Daily |

The Summit High School ProStart culinary team placed second in this year’s state 17th annual invitational on Friday, March 11.

More than 140 students from 21 different participating high schools convened for the Colorado ProStart Invitational & Sysco Denver Hospitality Cup Competition, which has to categories for judgment, business management and culinary. The culinary contestants prepare three courses in one hour using only two butane burners, while the management team develops and pitches proposals for a new restaurant concept.

Participants in both events engage in a battle of skill and knowledge, with points awarded on specific criteria such as proper cooking procedures, safety and sanitation. Also judged are presentation, product taste, menu cost, marketing plans, designs and teamwork. Winning students are eligible for $744,000 in scholarship money.

Summit High’s four-member culinary team, made up of seniors Dadny Nogueda, Daniel Molina, Fernando Saldivar and junior Lorenzo Patti, performed particularly well taking second prize. Each student received scholarship offers from Johnson & Wales University ($750 per year renewable for four years for a total of $3,000 each), Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York ($1,500 per year renewable for a total of $3,000) and the Louisiana Culinary Institute of Baton Rouge ($2,000).

Former culinary arts teacher Terri Vantiger oversees the ProStart classes at Summit High as part of the career and technical education program. And for the specific competition, Summit High alumnus Matt Vawter — chef and owner of Mercantile Dining & Provision in Denver and previous Colorado ProStart Industry Student of the Year — mentored the student competitors.

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Seniors Miriam Gonzalez and Alley Lome represented Summit on the management, but did not place in the top three of the category.

Three Summit School District teams also competed in the regional Destination Imagination tournament at Jefferson High School in Denver on Saturday, March 12.

Destination Imagination is a nonprofit organization that prepares Colorado kids to be innovators of the future by combining the arts, sciences and technology with creativity, teamwork and problem solving. These two-to-seven-member teams focus on finding solutions to two separate types of challenges, in the team and instant categories. By working together to develop solutions, participants push the limits of the imagination to better themselves and best their competition.

Dillon Valley Elementary and Summit Middle School both placed first, and the team made up of students from Summit High took second.

The Dillon Valley squad was made up of students Stone Amsbaugh, Cecilia Lowe, Noah Preaus, Phoebe Burt, Matthew Krystopa and Kaileen Gruber, under the guidance of teacher Cathy Amsbaugh.

Summit Middle School was represented by Madeline Krystopa, Sam Burke, Theodore Preaus, Dominick Leonardi and Cassie Hage, under the guidance of teacher Lynn Krystopa.

Summit High School was made up of students Sarah Burke, Delani Bargell, Sydney Vargo, Anna Mathis and Mari McAtamney, under the guidance of team manager Lori Burke.

With these top results, each Summit School District team now heads to the state tournament on Saturday, April 9, held at the Auraria Campus. For more information about the Destination Imagination Colorado program, visit:

Finally, a group of students from each of the district’s six elementary schools was selected Author Visit Essay Winners during this year’s drop in by children’s author Jerry Pallotta, Feb. 16-18.

Prior to Pallotta’s visit, a persuasive essay contest was held, and students wrote letters in a competition to convince a selection committee to choose them to eat lunch with the author. More than 500 letters were submitted, and six students from each school, 36 total students, were chosen for the prized opportunity to hear Pallotta share stories from his childhood.

Winners were as follows:

Breckenridge Elementary

Marianne Knell

Kate Keyes

Piper Faia

Lillian Meschler

Jude Kaltenbach

Tate Gallagher

Dillon Valley Elementary

Leonel Zazueta

Addi Rivera

Lisa Danira Alvardo Viatorno

Memo Chacoyan

Eli Love

Anna Lise Johnson

Frisco Elementary

Alec Hattler

Katie McKernan

Marley Yates

Francis Hupcey-Clancy

Baylor Jeffrey

Mia Wupperman

Silverthorne Elementary

Dillon Johnson

Sarah Doocy

Diana Racon

Megan Rose Collins

Aaron Gallardo

Summit Cove Elementary

Christopher DarstSienna Sussman

Kiernan Clark

Sophia Feller

Anna Drogsvold

Jonas Griska

Upper Blue Elementary

Karlyn Frazier

Lesly Vicuna Gonzalez

Sofia Arthur

Alexandra Garner

Andrea Galvan Diaz

Sophia McFarland

— Compiled by Kevin Fixler

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