Rising Stars Academy, culinary arts school for students with special needs, seeks enrollment

(WXYZ) - The art of cooking-- it's hard to master, but 24-year-old Joe Dude has no problem rising to the challenge.

Joe is just one of the students enrolled to start at Rising Stars Academy this fall. The non-profit academy is a culinary arts school for students with special needs. The first of its kind in Michigan.

"We're going to teach our kids the culinary, but also the agroscience...so they can actually cook their own food and learn how to eat healthy," said Rising Stars Academy Founder Mark Prentiss.

Prentiss,  a chef and educator,  is transforming a closed elementary school in Center Line into a  cooking haven, giving the students the opportunity to grow their own food, cook and learn social skills.

"This is very nice options for parents to have and this is an enjoyable activity—culinary arts is a fun thing for the kids to do and it's a life skill," said Annette Duda, Joe's mother.

The main goal is to get the students who are 18 to 26 out into the workforce within two years. The academy is working with big names in the food industry, like Buffalo Wild Wings and Jet's Pizza, to help train the students off site.

Aside from teaching students how to cook and prepare food, Rising Stars Academy aims to boost the self confidence of everyone who enrolls

"When I'm living in my own place, I'll have to do my own cooking and that's something I'm really looking forward to," said Joe.

Joe and the other students will learn to cook for themselves by cooking for the public. The academy will also have a restaurant along with the community garden.

"We want the city of Center Line to be involved with what we do and we want to kids to be involved in Center Line—so it's a kind of win, win for everybody," said Mark.

There are requirements for enrollment. The student has to be 18-26 and have a certificate of completion from high school. They also need to live in Oakland, Wayne or Macomb County.

This Thursday, the Rising Stars Academy is putting on a cooking competition in Eastern Market at Shed 3. You can enjoy beer, food and wine and watch local chefs compete. All of the ticket proceeds will go to the academy.

To find out more about enrollment or the Thursday event, go here: http://www.risingstars2013.com/


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