CTE Spotlight: Hospitality and Culinary Arts

March 1, 2023 - Two high schools in Comal ISD offer hospitality, tourism and culinary arts courses as part of the district’s growing Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

With a focus on the management, marketing and operations of hospitality and tourism, students at Pieper High and Smithson Valley High gain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in jobs and careers within the growing industry. These include restaurants, food and beverage services, hotels, attractions, recreational events and other travel-related services.

In just its second year, the program at Pieper High School currently offers two courses, principles to hospitality and tourism and introduction to culinary arts. As the program continues to grow with the school, advanced courses will be offered including a career preparation course where students will work with a local community partner within the industry to gain experience.

“I currently have a job in the hospitality industry,” says PHS student Ava Gardner who is taking principles of hospitality, “and I feel that this class really prepared me for it.”

On the culinary arts side, students learn the importance of sanitation and safety in the kitchen and gain hands-on experience preparing meals in the kitchen laboratories on campus.

For Angel Chavez, the culinary class has helped him realize that his interest in cooking which began at a young age helping his mother prepare food in their kitchen is truly something he wants to pursue as a career.

The PHS family and consumer science teacher Lana Harrison explains that students in the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts program possibly could earn industry-based certifications which can help them qualify for jobs both while they are still in high school and when they graduate. These certifications include Certified Fundamentals Cook, Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook, Food Protection Manager Certification, Food Safety & Science Certification, ServSafe Manager and more.

“I think CTE classes are important for students in general,” Harrison says, “because they provide students with opportunities to get hands-on learning and real-world skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. I think any student who takes a CTE course is setting themselves up for success for their futures.”

Gardner agrees.

“I’m very thankful that they have this at my school,” she says. “I feel like it sets us up for our future and teaches us things that our other classes don’t.”

As with other CTE programs at Comal ISD, the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts program is always looking for community businesses to partner with in order to give students the real-world experience they need. Businesses interested in a partnership, should contact Renee Martinez, director of CTE and career readiness at Comal ISD, at [email protected]



-Pieper High School students practice and hone their culinary skills in the campus’ CTE hospitality, tourism and culinary arts program.


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