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Cooking Up Greater Access for Students

Calla High students are receiving greater learning opportunities, stirring up their own success stories!

student spreads mayo on bread

This year, the Calla Lobos have embarked on a journey like never before, slicing, dicing, and sautéing their way through a cooking class.

ProStart 1: Culinary Arts is a Career Technical Education (CTE) class that offers students an immersive culinary experience while providing a pathway for students to explore their passions and interests outside of a traditional classroom. ProStart culinary classes are not new, but they were previously only available to students who went to a traditional high school. Recognizing the impact of CTE courses on shaping students' futures, Lori Pelligrino-Jackson, the Calla High School counselor, was determined to provide equitable access for all high schoolers.

Ms. Pelligrino-Jackson partnered with several MUSD leaders, including Calla Principal Michele Bryson, CTE Director Amanda Peters, Transportation Director Julie Fannin, Manteca Education & Training Center Principal Brad Harrison, and Chefs Andrew Griggs and Julia Williams to make this vision a reality.

Now, because of their collaboration, ProStart culinary classes can be taken by students attending a continuation school, reflecting MUSD’s core belief that ALL students must have access to learning opportunities that prepare them for life after high school. 

Calla highschoolers now take a school bus from their campus to the Manteca Education & Training Center each day, where they prepare for careers in the food service and hospitality industry by learning fundamental culinary techniques such as knife skills, cooking methods, workplace safety, and sanitation in a professional-grade kitchen.

The impact goes far beyond the kitchen, as the class is bringing dreams to life for Calla students. “When I was younger, I always wanted to be a chef,” shared culinary student Jaleah. “This class has inspired me to follow that dream.”

As for Calla classmate Rosie, she’s proud to show off her cooking skills at home and plans to get a job at a fast-food restaurant to save up for cosmetology school!

  • CTE
  • Calla High School