CAIRO HIGH SCHOOL College and Career Academy CEO Todd Gainous, Sierra Nix, Jalyn Ross, Meredith Renaud and Claire Phillips took part in a conference call Thursday when it was announced the CHS Culinary Arts program had been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company.
The benefits of being selected as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community is already paying dividends and Cairo High School College and Career Center students involved in the Culinary Arts pathway were pleasantly surprised to learn Thursday they had been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company.
Grants of up to $20,000 were being offered in a nationwide competition, and the CHS students were successful in earning a $5,000 grant to support their “NourishGrady” initiative.
According to Culinary Arts teacher Whitney Brown, the Culinary Arts program has set a goal of obtaining funding to purchase a food truck, which could be used by students to hone their skills and the community would benefit from freshly prepared, affordable fare.
Students prepared a video explaining their plans last fall as part of the requirements of the Ford Next Generation STEAM High School Community Challenge.
The surprise announcement was delivered by Ford Next Generation officials via a conference call with students last week.
According to Ms. Brown, the goal of the NourishGrady initiative is to integrate skills in agriculture, business and marketing, drafting and design, accounting, culinary arts, environmental efficiency, automotive mechanics, statistics and economics, graphic design, and even fine arts.
“The opportunities for students to experience and learn from these real-world entrepreneurial lessons are endless,” she said.
Local school system officials say as CHS students are exposed to new skills and ideas, it causes an increase in job outlook and highly qualified employees upon graduation.
“NourishGrady has the potential to make an immeasurable positive impact on the local economy of Grady County by collaboratively training the students of Cairo High School using a cross-curricular approach to instill skills that will place students in long-lasting successful careers,” Ms. Brown said.
According to Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard, he and the board of education support the NourishGrady project. However, Dr. Gilliard said it would be a long-term project. He told the CHS students last week that the program may have to begin with a food trailer and as funds become available an actual food truck could eventually be purchased.
“I’m extremely proud of the work our Culinary Arts students have done on this project. They should be proud of themselves for being awarded this $5,000 grant. We are also thankful to have Ms. Whitney Brown leading our Culinary Arts program. She and her students are doing great things and our community is taking notice,” Dr. Gilliard said.