US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

2015 Scholarship Ceremony_1The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association via the association’s Education and Training Fund awarded $7,500 in scholarships to Dyese Turnbull, Alliyah Dessout and Zoya Tatem during an awards ceremony July 28.

Education and Training Committee Chairman Samuel Rey and USVIHTA manager Nicole Friday offered the students encouraging words as they embarked on, or in some cases continued, to pursue a degree in the hospitality field.

“For too long, an impression of limited management opportunities for local residents has existed. Our task is to turn that around by promoting and providing financial and human resources that would attract young people to be on board as viable resources for this industry; and it starts with the right education,” said Rey.

Rey also noted that USVIHTA is committed to not only supporting more local involvement in educating our youth about careers in hospitality, but also providing the necessary resources to ensure their success. To achieve this, the association will continue its work with the University of the Virgin Islands Hospitality Program, as well as actively seek out young men and women who are willing to learn, grow and develop into becoming the next leaders in Virgin Islands hospitality.

“The talent is here, and we are going to find them and assist in providing a pathway that leads to their success in the industry,” Rey said.

Students are awarded scholarships based on their dedication to hospitality as well as their academic and extra-curricular achievements, and will each receive $2,500 to put towards their education. Scholarship recipients Turnbull and Dessout are attending the University of the Virgin Islands, and recipient Tatem is attending Johnson & Whales University.

2015 Scholarship Ceremony_2“I am indeed grateful for the financial support given to me by the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association. This is indeed a stepping stone to help me achieve my aspirations of obtaining my degree in hospitality and tourism management. I would use my degree to help promote our beautiful islands and make the tourism industry better in any way I can,” said Turnbull.

Last year, the scholarship was posthumously named in honor of Lorette Resch, honorary member on the Board of Directors and generous scholarship contributor. She was passionate about education and donated much of her time to building the scholarship fund. Turnbull, Dessout and Tatem are the first recipients to fall under the newly named scholarship.

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.