The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association, via the association’s Education and Training Fund, awarded $15,000 in scholarships to six students during an awards ceremony on July 6. Students included Dyese Turnbull, sophomore at the University of the Virgin Islands; Michael Dinh, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic High School graduate; Akim Jno-Pierre, Charlotte Amalie High School graduate; and Calika Hendricks, Esther Walters and Elroy Arnold, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School graduates.
Education and Training Committee Chairman Samuel Rey as well as USVIHTA president Lisa Hamilton and manager Nicole Friday offered words of wisdom and support to the students.
“Our industry continues to grow, and having our high school graduates trained and groomed into being future general managers, divisional department heads and supervisors of our hotels and restaurants will go a long way towards maintaining a foundation of local talent,” said Rey.
The association works closely with the UVI hospitality program to target students who are passionate about the industry and want to become the next leaders in Virgin Islands hospitality.
“These scholarships open the doors to assist those individuals who have talent and great potential for growth and development. One key mission of the hotel and tourism association is to assist in motivating and offering practical methods to grow our industry with local talent in key leadership roles," Rey added.
Students are awarded scholarships based on their dedication to hospitality as well as their academic and extra-curricular achievements, and they will each receive $2,500 to put towards his or her education. Scholarship recipients Turnbull, Hendricks and Walters are attending UVI, and recipients Arnold, Dinh and Jno-Pierre are attending Johnson & Wales University.
In 2014, the scholarship was posthumously named in honor of Lorette Resch, honorary member on the USVIHTA board of directors and generous scholarship contributor. She was passionate about education and donated much of her time to building the scholarship fund.
The USVIHTA Education and Training Fund was established over two decades ago in an effort to aid youth in the community who are seeking higher education with a concentration in hospitality. Funds for the program are raised by the USVI Culinary Team, during the USVIHTA Holiday Party and through donations by USVIHTA members.