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FFCHS culinary students win gold


Last updated 4/21/2021 at 9:42am | View PDF

Submitted photo

Gabriel Villalobos made ceviche in a recent FCCLA competition, winning gold.

By G. Connor Salter

On April 10-11, Fountain-Fort Carson High School (FFCHS) students Layla Urias and Gabriel Villalobos competed in a virtual culinary competition, the Gourmet Savory Presentation, as part of the 2021 Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Virtual State Leadership Conference. For the competition, they recorded making a dish from start to finish (Urias made seafood Paella, and Villalobos made ceviche), and they both won gold medals.

Chef Luis Pagan, who taught both students in the FCCHS culinary program, gave a few details about the competition.

"Gourmet Savory Food Presentation is an individual state competitive event that recognizes participants who demonstrate their creative abilities during the preparation and presentation of savory foods," Pagan said. "It also challenges their culinary technical abilities knowledge, by preparing two identical dishes in 20 minutes. In addition, students demonstrate their knowledge of food safety by following the ServSafe guidelines required in the food service industry. This competition also emphasizes food production, time management, and organization skills in the time allowed by the event."

Chef Pagan was quite pleased with both Urias and Villalobos' performance.

"I am very proud of my students' achievements," he said. "This year, as we know, has been a difficult and different year, but that has not discouraged my students from participating and preparing for this competition. These gold medals are a reflection of their dedication, hard work, perseverance, creativity and an inspiration for other students to make their dreams come true."

Urias' mother, Angela, also expressed how happy she was with the recognition her daughter received.

"Layla has been helping in the kitchen since she was able to stand up," Angela said. "She has always said she wants to be a chef... Hopefully this is her first recognition as she continues to follow the path of her dream to become a chef."

The Gourmet Savory Food Presentation is one of several competitions that FFCHS students have participated in over the years run by professional associations, or Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) that train high school students to become entrepreneurs, or leaders in various industries.

Here is a look at some of the organizations that recently ran competitions, and how different FFCHS students placed in the annual contests:

Distributive Education Organizations of America (DECA)

Melanie Brousseau – State Champion (Business Growth Plan)

Faith Queen – State Champion (Hospitality and Tourism Professional Sales)

Gaheris Owen – Top 10 finisher for three years, 4th place in Financial Consulting, 3rd place in Career Development Project

Trevor Ridge – 3rd place (Career Development Project)

Gabrielle Moore – 2nd place (Chapter of Excellence)

Kylie Ann Jenson – 2nd place (Chapter of Excellence)

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Emily Piter – 1st place (Public Speaking)

Courtney Cook – 2nd place (Public Service Announcement)

Dylan Akina – 3rd place (Accounting 1)

Emily Guajardo – 4th place (Accounting 1)

Kayla Silva – 5th place (Website Design)

Colorado Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA):

Ethan Lewis – 9th place (Epidemiology)

Sophia Doogan – 6th place (Prepared Speaking)

Kaela McKinney – 8th place (Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking)

Jaren Bulala –10th place (Researched Persuasive Writing and Speaking)

Submitted photo

Layla Urias' paella won gold in the FCCLA competition.

Bailey Knudsen –10th place (Human Growth and Development)

Krisharie Ola – 8th place (Medical Law and Ethics)

FFCHS Assistant Principal Meagan Case expressed how proud she was of the many students who'd taken part in these contests.

"We are so proud of all the accomplishments of our students who participated in Career and Technical Student Organization district, state and national competitions this year," Case said. "The students and their sponsors have worked so hard to showcase the great things happening at Fountain-Fort Carson High School. Although this year was exceptionally difficult for all students, the Trojans have shown the dedication, passion and perseverance to make us proud! Congratulations to all who competed this year!"


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