Steven Oubre, Woodlawn High’s ProStart teacher, was named the 2017 Louisiana Educator of Excellence by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation earlier this month. Oubre was chosen by the board of directors of the LRAEF based on his community outreach programs for his students along with the numerous students who leave his program with additional industry certifications.
Oubre, a native of Patterson, Louisiana, is in his seventh year at Woodlawn High. After graduating from Patterson High School, he attended Nicholls State University. Oubre received his degree in Culinary Arts & Sciences. He began working as a Sous Chef at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans before branching out on his own, starting a private chef company. From there, Oubre moved on to Woodlawn High School.
Oubre took over the ProStart program during his first year at Woodlawn. The program consisted of three students. Since that time, Oubre has grown the program to over 120 students. Each year, Oubre has brought students from Woodlawn to the LRAEF Louisiana Seafood ProStart Invitational in New Orleans at the Convention Center in which he once worked. The Invitational, which is held in March of each year, awards scholarship money to the top three teams in both the Culinary and Management categories. Students compete for scholarships up to $40,000 each. Twice Oubre’s teams have placed fourth in the Culinary category, just missing out on top three finishes.
Along with the March competition, Oubre brings ProStart students to the State Capital each year to cook for the House and Senate. His students are also looked to by athletic programs on campus, catering pregame meals for the football, boys and girls basketball, and softball teams. Oubre’s students have catered Honors Breakfasts, Senior Breakfasts, JROTC Military Balls, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board events, numerous parent nights, and even catered a wedding for a former teacher.
“Receiving this award was extremely special to me. It is nice to be appreciated and recognized for the hard work that you do. It was a great honor to be recognized, even considered, for this award. There are over seventy ProStart teachers in the state, many of them great teachers, so it meant a lot to be chosen for the award,” said Oubre.
In May, Oubre will travel to Chicago to the National Food and Restaurant Association Show. Oubre will compete against teachers from around the nation to be named the National Educator of Excellence. He will also be given the opportunity to discuss ProStart curriculum, strategies to improve the program, and upcoming changes in the program.
ProStart is the premier culinary arts program for high school students. ProStart gives students the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and managing restaurants by training with professional chefs and receiving valuable classroom instruction. ProStart students are also given the opportunity to earn college credit and make money while still in high school.
The LRAEF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 and is governed by a board of directors made up of restaurants, industry experts and educators in the hospitality industry. It exists to enhance the industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. Visit the LRAEF website at www.lraef.org.