Excel Academy of Englewood Installs Kitchen for New Culinary Arts Program When Students Return to In-Person Learning
As Camelot Education’s Excel Academy of Englewood students learn remotely, the school is giving them a lot to look forward to. When students return to Englewood’s building when in-person learning resumes, they will find a brand-new kitchen for a culinary arts program.
The program will teach cooking, nutrition and healthy living skills to students, many of whom might be inspired to pursue culinary arts as part of their post-secondary plan.
“Our students consistently show an interest in culinary arts curriculum,” says Kevin Sweetland, Camelot’s regional director, who is always looking for opportunities to help students access vocational pathways. “We believe this new program will empower students to discover a new passion or even chart a path to a very meaningful career.”
Funding for the project came through an Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) grant, facilitated by a Camelot partner, the Alternative Schools Network (ASN). The collaboration was a prime example of leveraging partnerships to create new educational opportunities for students.
“We look at any avenue that will provide a career pathway for young people to grow and pursue their interests — and youth have a great interest in culinary arts,” says ASN associate director Martrice Manuel. “Kevin Sweetland expressed interest in a culinary arts program for Camelot’s Excel Academies. So when we came across the ICJIA grant, we reached out to Kevin to set it up.”
The program will benefit students in many ways. Even if students choose not to pursue culinary arts in their post-secondary path, they will still learn to cook new dishes at home for themselves, their families and their friends.
Students at Chicago Excel Academies have participated in off-campus culinary programs before. This includes Washburn College’s culinary summer programs, which yielded highly positive student feedback.
Now Excel Academy of Englewood students will be able to access a culinary program on their own campus — and once they return, they can look forward to some delicious and nutritious opportunities.