SEASIDE - While many high school students are hitting the books, preparing for finals and the end of the school year, one group of students will be putting on aprons and chef whites and spending their weekend in the kitchen grilling salmon, churning ice cream and rolling out pastry dough.

A handful of Seaside High School's culinary arts students will be cooking up a four-course dinner on Sunday, May 20, to raise money for the school's hands-on cooking program. The dinner will be held at the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce Community Hall at 5 p.m.

Students have been able to take the classes at SHS for over a decade and are able to learn basic kitchen skills in a classroom and kitchen space that rivals many local professional kitchens, said Doug Dougherty, superintendent of the Seaside School District.

"The Culinary Arts facility at Seaside High School is one of the best in the state. It was established with the vision and generous support of many local restaurants." he said. Throughout the year, students visit many local businesses and work side-by-side with local chefs and restaurateurs.

This year, Seaside's Culinary Arts Team won sixth place at the ProStart state competition. The team was mentored by Will Leroux and Josh Archibald, two chefs with Cannon Beach-based Martin Hospitality.

In a partnership with Clatsop Community College, students are able to receive college credit for their time in the classroom.

The program is important to the students at Seaside High School, said Sheila Roley, the school's principal.

"It is an engaging learning environment that teaches them not only cooking skills but also teamwork, problem solving and accepting only an excellent outcome of their work," Roley said.

Cooking involves math, science and literacy and the program overall gives them experience in marketing and public relations, she added.

The program helps give them the tools they need to be successful in the food service industry, Dougherty said. The proceeds from the fundraiser will help ensure these students will continue to learn the latest industry standards and develop their passion for the culinary arts, he continued.

"There are not many learning opportunities that can equal it," Roley said.

Tickets for the dinner are $75 per person for dinner and wine. For more information or to purchase tickets call Seaside High School at (503) 738-5586.

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