Okkodo High wins its first local ProStart competition

by Jayne Flores
Guam Community College

Competing in the GCC CTE High School ProStart competition for only the third year, Okkodo High School today moved to the top of Guam’s high school culinary ranking, winning the competition at the GCC Multipurpose Auditorium.

Of the all-senior team, captain Ella Mae Tinoso, Xela Marie Olivario, and Hennessy Sanchez have all been competing together in the ProStart program at Okkodo since they were sophomores. One Jim Mangligot is new to the team.

“I’m overwhelmed, and very proud,” said Tinoso. “The three of us (ladies) have been together since sophomore year, but our teammate Jim is the one who stood out – it’s his first competition,” she said.

Chef Kennylyn Miranda is the Okkodo ProStart instructor, as well as a GCC Culinary Art graduate. “I’m so proud,” Miranda said of her students. “We’ve been working so hard for this,” she said.

 ProStart is the career and technical education program in Guam’s public high schools that feeds into GCC’s Culinary Arts program, which produces many of the island’s amazing chefs. This year the competition involved only four schools: Simon Sanchez, Okkodo, John F. Kennedy, and Southern high schools (the George Washington High School ProStart classroom is under construction, and Tiyan High currently does not have a ProStart kitchen).

Southern High School took second place in today’s competition; Simon Sanchez placed third, and John F. Kennedy High School rounded out the competition in fourth place.

“We showcased the students’ skills and our relationship with the industry – all in all, it’s a good day,” said Marivic Schrage, GCC Tourism & Hospitality Department chair and former instructor for the two-time national champion ProStart team from Simon Sanchez High School. 

Schrage said she is very grateful to the renowned island chefs who judged today’s competition. “I asked them to be here at 7 am, and they were all here, despite having worked late at their own restaurants last night,” she said.

Schrage noted that since the entire Okkodo team is comprised of seniors, they will each walk away from today’s competition with a $3,000 scholarship to further their culinary studies after high school.

“We’ve been informed by NRAEF (the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation) that the Art Institutes based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will award members of this year’s winning team who are graduating seniors with a $3,000 scholarship each, to further their culinary careers,” Schrage said. She notes that the scholarship is renewable for up to four years, for a maximum of $12,000.

“We are very fortunate that, with our two national championships, we’ve put Guam on the ProStart map. NRAEF knows that our students are top-notch, and we are very grateful for their support,” Schrage said.

Tinoso, Olivario, Sanchez, and Mangligot all plan to enroll in the GCC Culinary Arts program upon graduation.

Participating Teams:

Okkodo High School:
Instructor: Chef Kennlyn Miranda
1. Xela Marie Olivario
2. Ella Mae Tinoso
3. Hennessy L. Sanchez
4. Jim Mangligot

Simon Sanchez
Instructor: Patricia Nery
1. Vincent A Castro
2. Mark D. Lumanlan
3. Joshua Manlapaz
4. Edrick M Edu

Instructor: Chef Jesse Talavera
1. Gonzalo Vilaflores
2. Tyrell Placides
3. Diane Ezmeralda
4. RC Abordonado

Southern High
Instructor:  Chef Carl Takano
1. Rhenae G. Jimenez
2. Yvanna C. Guzman
3. Erick N Mori
4. Hae'ani Lynn Crisostomo

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