OverviewWHS Students Cooking

ProStart is a two-year program that teaches culinary arts and restaurant management to high school students at Waukee CSD.

The program is supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, in partnership with the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation, and pairs with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to offer students college credit.

Integrating classroom learning with mentorship and real-world experience, ProStart teaches students essential management and cooking skills to prepare for a career in the food service industry. Additionally, the program offers opportunities for students to work with businesses and compete in events.

“ProStart is a career and technical education program that unites the food service industry and the classroom to teach high school students culinary skills and restaurant management principles, as well as employability skills such as communication, teamwork, professionalism, and time management.” — Laura Calvert, NWHS ProStart instructor


Course Information

Credits can be earned by attending DMACC. Talk with a DMACC advisor about how to be awarded these credits after enrollment.

ProStart I

  • HCM100 Sanitation and Safety – 2 credits
  • HCM143 Food Prep I Lecture – 3 credits
  • HCM144 Food Prep I Lab – 3 credits

ProStart II

  • HCM152 Food Prep II Lecture – 2 credits
  • HCM153 Food Prep II Lab – 2 credits


Student Spotlight

Student ProStart AwardTavian Lam decided to enroll in the ProStart program at Waukee High School due to his love for cooking and desire to improve. Through the Culinary I and II courses, Tavian grew his cooking skills and gained insight into the food service industry.

“I learned basic cooking skills, safety and sanitation, and many more helpful tips when it comes to cooking,” he says. “My favorite part of the program was the cooking competitions we had with classmates, because seeing who could make an item better was a fun way to push myself.”

Tavian is now attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York City and says ProStart helped him achieve his goals.

“Without the ProStart program, I would have never continued exploring my interest in the culinary field. It helped me figure out what I want to do with my life,” Tavian says.



Laura Calvert, ProStart Instructor
515-987-5163 ext. 8615