East St. John students earn hospitality & tourism certifications

Published 2:29 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

RESERVE — Two East St. John High School students will cross the stage during Delgado’s commencement ceremony before they even graduate from high school.

Junior Gabriella Tassara and senior Allayah Crosby have successfully completed the hospitality and tourism pathway through East St. John’s Jump Start 2.0 dual enrollment program with Delgado Community College. Aimed to help students transition from high school to career opportunities, this program prepares students for a variety of jobs in the hotel, restaurant and travel service industries.

Tassara and Crosby will be earning a career and technical certification and will participate in Delgado’s commencement exercise at 10 a.m. on May 17.

“This is the first time we will have this achievement at East St. John in the hospitality program,” said dual enrollment instructor Keanna Theriot. “These students make me proud. At first, they both thought it was impossible, but I made them believe in themselves. They can do anything they want to do.”

Students had to adjust to changing schedules as a result of Hurricane Ida, but those hurdles did not stop them from successfully completing the course.

During the year-long program, students had to master an array of skills including guest services, revenue management, and finding hotel occupancy rates with supply and demand. One of the overarching themes of both semesters was RAVE, short for “respect and value everyone.”

Crosby will have her CTC certifications in hand before she graduates from East St. John on May 24. Through the Jump Start 2.0 program, she has earned a Trip Advisor Certification and a Hospitality Management Professional achievement. She has also become a Certified Guest Service Professional.

At the beginning of the school year, Crosby recognized that the course would be a lot of work, and she wasn’t sure if she could handle it. Despite her initial doubts, she ended up with the highest grade in the class for the guest service professional certification.

Crosby’s favorite project involved planning a vacation for four while staying within a certain budget. She had to find lodging, coordinate transportation from New Orleans to her selected destination in New Jersey, research restaurants, and present a variety of activities a family could enjoy, including something that was free. At the end of the class presentations, students had to pick which vacation they felt was the best and explain why.

The experience made Crosby realize she would like to be a travel agent after high school.

While Tassara is interested in attending cosmetology school, she can still apply what she has learned in the hospitality and tourism pathway.

“I wanted to get a college credit, at least one or two, to have on my transcript. I plan on going to cosmetology school for nails and hair, and I deal with a lot of people with a lot of different personalities every day. Knowing how to treat people with respect is something I can put into my day-to-day work,” she said.