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2015 SkillsUSA culinary-baking results
Hyeonseo "Jerry" Jo, 2015 Hickman High School graduate, placed first in the SkillsUSA Culinary Arts national competition, and Jacob Knerr, 2015 Columbia Home Educators graduate, placed fourth in the SkillsUSA Commercial Baking national competition for high school students. The two trained through the Columbia Area Career Center's culinary arts program. The year culminated at the 51st Annual SkillsUSA awards ceremony on Friday, June 26, at Freedom Hall in the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
The two competitors practiced for the entire year with chefs Katie Frink, Brook Harlan, John Minor, Jeff Rayl, and Carri Risner of the culinary arts program at the Career Center. The five chefs were in agreement that the success of the program wouldn't be possible without the support of the Career Center's administration and the Columbia community.
Jerry is the fifth Missouri student to win the Culinary Arts national competition. State contests began in March, and the national contest was held in June at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Students from most of the 50 states, as well as Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, participated. Jerry's effort will be rewarded with a full four-year scholarship to many of the country's top culinary schools. Jacob was awarded a partial scholarship to the same schools. Jerry and Jacob will continue their education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
The Culinary Arts National Champion is the fourth in a row for the Columbia Area Career Center. The Career Center's other Culinary National Champions were in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014. This also marks the 13th straight year that the Columbia Area Career Center has had a state champion for Missouri competing in the national contest for Culinary Arts. A Career Center Culinary Commercial Baking student placed first at the SkillsUSA national contest in 2013, fourth in 2012, and second in 2014. They have also won the state championship six out of the last seven years.