Washburn Tech. teams up with Skills USA

Nicholas Birdsong / Washburn Review

Washburn Institute of Technology will be holding a fine dining event this Thursday to raise funds for educational competitions through SkillsUSA. The three course meal will give visitors a chance to sample the work of Culinary Arts Program students, while putting money toward their education.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization that allows trade students to compete in various skill-based events for scholarships based on their performance in local, state and national tournaments.

“Students can compete in areas like carpentry, welding, cabinet making and office technology,” said David Praiswater, SkillsUSA lead advisor and commercial construction instructor at WIT. “There are all kinds of contests, and it’s a good way for us to compete and raise money.”

All proceeds from the dinner will go toward paying costs associated with students’ participation in the SkillsUSA program. Fundraisers such as Thursday’s fine dining event will allow students to travel, register and compete without costs that may have otherwise prevented them from having the opportunity.

Washburn Tech’s fine dining event serves more than one purpose for the students. Besides raising funds, the event gives Culinary Arts Program students the chance to connect with members of the community and show some of the skills learned through their education.

“We set this particular fundraiser up to one, showcase what the students can do and two, raise money so they don’t have to pay out of pocket expenses,” said Brett Mahorney, instructor of culinary arts at Washburn Tech. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun to see what my students can do.”

Fine dining events have been held once a month for the past two months. Thursday’s event will be the third service. Although the fundraiser is a dinner, many WIT students outside of the culinary program contribute.

“It’s students from child care, students from construction and students from auto,” said Mahorney. “We have students with no culinary background whatsoever.”

Buffet style dinners or mixed buffet and served fine dining experiences have allowed volunteers to adjust to working in a restaurant atmosphere. Thursday’s fundraiser will be the first full service dinner.

The $15 donation will include an entrée choice of either pork chops or steak served with roasted red potatoes, a house salad and dinner rolls. Chocolate cake will be available for dessert. Reservations may be made by calling 785-273-7140.