CHARLESTON — A group of 20 students enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) courses at Tolsia High School claimed the top prize in the first-ever food trailer competition hosted by the West Virginia Department of Education at the Capitol Complex in Charleston on Nov. 21.

Four schools were invited to participate in the competition’s final round: Cabell Midland, Raleigh County, East Hardy and Tolsia, which took the winning prize of $44,500.

With the prize money, Tolsia can now use the funds to purchase a trailer and build their food trailer design — Game Day Grill — which will be a combined effort of all CTE students, THS ProStart teacher Tara Crabtree said.

“The theme of our truck was tailgating, so we didn’t want to only bring food; we wanted entertainment as well, so we added cornhole boards,” Crabtree said. “Our design also had a screen that would fold down and show highlights from our different athletic teams.”

ProStart students took care of cooking food and preparing drinks; the business class created a plan for how it would operate; broadcasting students created an in-house commercial for the service; the manufacturing class created logos and graphics; and carpentry and welding students will be tasked with building and modifying the trailer once it’s purchased by the school.

“We had to put a budget together and had a cap of $50,000, and our goal was to come in a bit under that number, but the whole thing was really good for our kids because it gave them a chance to conduct some research, and they got some real-life experience in starting up a business,” business teacher Todd Maynard said. “It was awesome to see all of their skill sets come together for one big project.”

The students were recognized at the school Thursday evening during “Meet the Rebels,” a tipoff event for the high school, middle school and youth league basketball teams in the area.

Maynard, who coaches the Tolsia boys basketball team, said coming home from the food trailer competition felt like a state championship for the students.

“They really worked hard. (The teachers) stepped back, and they took it and ran with it,” Crabtree said of the students. “Overall it was a great experience for all of us, though. Those are students I don’t often get to see because they are in different programs, but it took everybody to accomplish what we did.”

Luke Creasy is a reporter for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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