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Westfield HS students learn life skills and earn college credits in Culinary Arts

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Posted at 5:05 AM, Sep 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-28 08:29:01-04

WESTFIELD — There’s nothing like Hoosier Hospitality and students at Westfield High School are learning all about it in the WHS Culinary Arts Program.

The Westfield Shamrocks aren’t just learning in the classroom they’re learning in the kitchen, getting college credits and catering events.

Chef Nikki Heflin is a Family and Consumer Science teacher at Westfield High School.

Inside the school you’ll find a commercial kitchen. They use it for classes like intro to cooking and more advanced classes like baking and pastries.

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They also use it to run their catering business, Foodies Rock.

“Not only do they get the classroom-based experience, but they get that real world opportunity too,” Heflin said.

Heflin said last year they catered more than 100 events.

“I’ve always said that the reason why this program is so successful is because the community,” Heflin said.

She said every year nearly 800 Shamrocks go through the program. Some take the classes to learn life skills while others are planning for future careers.

Junior Nick Peck said he’s not sure he’ll go into hospitality post high school but he’s excited to continue learning new skills.

“Learning how to obviously make food and keep people safe and it's just a really big and important thing in life,” Peck said.

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While seniors Ellie Vieth and Kaylee Bowers have found their passion in the kitchen.

“This has turned into my passion. I work in catering and hospitality now, I love it, I love coming here to do it. It's truly my passion,” Vieth said.

“I do plan on going to culinary schools I’m applying to Culinary Institute of America in New York and San Francisco. I'm applying to Sullivan University and then a few culinary schools in California as well,” Bowers said.

Chef Heflin said she’s proud to know when her students graduate, she knows they’ll be set up for success.

“The goal is for our students to get real world experience and when students go out into the workforce employers know that our students are highly trained, they're passionate, they have really gotten the experience here at the high school level,” Heflin said.

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Chef Heflin said the school can cater events in the Central Indiana Area. You can reach out to them on Facebook at WHS Culinary Arts or by contacting the high school.

All the money earned goes back into the student’s education.