Academics, Local, Park Forest, Schools

RTHS ProStart Students Make Impact at Illinois Culinary Competition

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The Rich Township High School District 227 team of ProStart Culinary students competed at the 22nd Annual ProStart Invitational hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association on Saturday, March 19, 2022.  The invitational is only open to students aged 16 – 18. They earned a strong finish and showcased their aptitude and love of cooking food.

Pictured above are the four RTHS students who competed in the 22nd Annual ProStart Invitational and finished in third place.

RTHS students worked hard to win a 3rd place finish.  The students who competed were Malachi Baines of Matteson – salmon and shrimp entree, Alicaia Campbell from Chicago Heights – heirloom tomato and goat cheese salad, Gia Bledsoe from Richton Park – salmon shrimp entree, Christen Rainer of Richton Park – Raspberry Soufflé Dessert.  On the WGN TV report it was said of Malachi Baines, “Behind the mask is the heart of a future chef.”  The Chef and Instructor of the RTHS Students is Chef Mark Crawford, who has many years of success in the culinary arts.

The competition gives the students exposure to judges who are Michelin-starred chefs and James Beard nominees as the students launch their careers into the competitive and lucrative field.

High School District #227 serves the residents of Country Club Hills, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park, a small section of Chicago Heights and adjoining rural areas in South Cook County. The district was formed from non-high school territory in 1949. Construction of the East Campus of Rich Township High School, financed by a $1,600,000 bond issue, began in September 1952. Twelve months later it was operating as a four-year high school. During the 1952-53 school year, a ninth grade school was operating in the Faith United Protestant Church in Park Forest, Located on a 55-acre site donated by American Community Builders, Inc., the original building accommodated approximately 750 students.

The East Campus was formally dedicated in December, 1953 by the Secretary of Health, Education and Safety; Mrs. Oveta Club Hobby. It was fully accredited by both the North Central Association and the State of Illinois during the initial year of operation. In 1954, it won, for the municipalities which it serves, the All-American City award, the first ever to be awarded by a school.

In 1955, a $450,000 bond issue financed the addition of 12 classrooms and a gymnasium. This increased the capacity of the school to approximately 1,100 students. In 1957, a $1,050,000 bond issue was passed and the money used to increase the size of the East Campus to accommodate 1,500 to 1,600 students. At the same time, 50 acres of land for a new high school site was purchased in Olympia Fields.