DALLAS — A team of Dallas ISD students are celebrating a victory — in the kitchen!
The girls from Molina High School this week won 3rd place out of 21 in a culinary competition sponsored by the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association.
Senior Alondria Ruiz says it's a chance to show off her culinary skills.
She and her teammates are hoping to capture the top prize in a state cooking competition being held in Austin next month.
The Molina students are one of a few teams in the competition who don't have a professional-grade kitchen.
"I'm very excited" said Ashley De Jesus.
"Very nervous" added Margarita Lara.
"I know we can do it" said Elizabeth Limon.
That "can-do" attitude that prevails in all four girls, but one stands out: Alondria Ruiz cooks to help support her family.
Alondria sells pineapple empanadas to make extra money, and it was her grandmother who taught her how to make the dough.
"What makes me remember her so well is that she would roll them out in a straight circle, but she was blind, so that makes me want to keep on trying and never give up" Alondria said.
She hopes to one day be a professional chef and fulfill the dream she shared with her visually-impaired grandmother.
"She wanted to have a restaurant," Alondria recalled. "Since she died, I keep on trying and doing my best so I can make that dream come true for her."
"They are getting to see how their hard work will pay off," Molina teacher Michelle Guffey said. "I am so proud of them."