The STARs in Nashville will extend beyond country music singers when three Evans High School students arrive in July.
Nikki Mason, Josh Andrews and Morgan White qualified to compete at the national Students Taking Action with Recognition culinary arts competition, held in Nashville, after winning the state competition in April.
The trio are the first Evans High culinary team to qualify for a national competition, which is sponsored by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
"It says a lot about the hard work the ProStart students of Evans High School put into this class," said Laotha Carswell, the culinary arts teacher at the school.
With a meal of grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli, cous cous, tomato and baby greens salad and pudding, the cooking students impressed a group of Atlanta judges enough to win the state competition.
Nikki, an 18-year-old senior, credits teamwork for the win.
"We all have our strengths," she said. "Josh is great with entrees, and me and Morgan are good with appetizers and desserts.
"But we all worked together and helped each other out. We'd wash each others dishes and help out where we could. It really was a team effort."
The Evans students defeated three teams in the region contest and then five other teams on a state level.
Although taste played a role in the decision, 16-year-old junior Josh said other factors his team excelled at helped as well.
"They looked at our communication with each other, our cleanliness, our presentation," he said. "All of that was taken into account."
Morgan, an 18-year-old senior, also emphasized the group's ability to work as a team for earning them a trip to Tennessee. However, she still expressed surprise.
"I was a little shocked," she said. "I knew we were good, but I didn't know we were that good."
Currently, the students are planning cookouts and candy sales as fundraisers for the Nashville trip.
"Kids love candy," Josh said. "That will sell fast."
However, any donations would be greatly appreciated, Carswell said.
Donations can be made by calling Evans High School at (706) 863-1198.
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