Austin Broyles, a senior at Southwest High School and two-year student at Southwest Area Career Center in Monett, received the state award for Breaking Traditions.
The Missouri Breaking Traditions contest is for outstanding students in nontraditional career and technical education programs.
Nontraditional means occupations or fields of work in which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the individuals employed in that occupation or field.
For 19 years, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students who have chosen specific career and technical programs based on their interests and abilities and who have not let the gender influence career decisions.
Career centers, two-year colleges and comprehensive high schools nominate a single student from each nontraditional program. Winners from eight regions in the state are chosen by a panel of judges and the finalists compete for male and female secondary and post secondary and adult state awards. Dapha Jones Spirit award winners are selected from nominees who have overcome extreme obstacles to be successful in the career education programs.
All state and spirit winners were honored on April 23 during a ceremony at the governor's mansion in Jefferson City. Regional winners and honorable mention students were recognized with plaques and certificates at SWACC during the recognition night ceremony held on May 3.
"A student is nominated on an essay based on how the nontraditional program has affected your life," said Broyles. "My essay was on the culinary arts program and how it has affected my life. Before I got into culinary arts I had no idea as to what I was going to do with my life. I came in this class because I liked to cook and by the second or third week I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life."
Broyles is the son of Pamela and Weldon Broyles, of Washburn, He hopes to one day manage or own his own restaurant.
"I want to be the chef, even if I own it," said Broyles. "I will be an active owner or manager."
Vickie Fuller, culinary arts teacher, also had to write an essay on how Broyles had changed during the program.
"I hope to go to Northwest Arkansas Community College," said Broyles. " It is close to my home and they have a good culinary arts program.
My advice to anyone that want to be in an non-traditional program is just do it, don't worry about what people are going to say about you and what they think. It doesn't matter, if it is what you want to do."