Some high school students are sharpening their skills—and knives—in the kitchens of the Conroe ISD Culinary Arts program.

The yearlong program is offered through two courses: Culinary Arts I and Culinary Arts Practicum, which is the district-level culinary program. Courses cover the hospitality and food service industry including topics such as restaurant management, cooking, safety and sanitation, among other career-specific objectives, CISD Communications Director Sarah Wood said.

"The mission of the CISD culinary program is to successfully equip students with the knowledge and skills expected of culinary professionals in today's industry," she said.

A minimum of 30 students from six high schools participate in the program annually. Among those schools are The Woodlands High School and College Park High School, Wood said.

Students who successfully complete the entry-level Culinary Arts I course offered at their home school may advance to the district-level culinary program housed at Conroe High School.

The program has already gained some bragging rights, too.

"We have had contest winners at both the district and state levels in SkillsUSA and winners at the Montgomery County Fair," Wood said.

Although the program began in 2011, Wood said it has changed the lives of many of its students.

"Some students attend culinary school, and some are employed in the food service industry," Wood said. "Others go on to college to further their education."

While students are gaining valuable training, the community come to enjoy the culinary benefits of the program as well, Wood said.

"We have been able to participate in community activities, such as Taste of the Town, TasteFest, The Woodlands Art Festival and CISD Heath Fair," Wood said.