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Students Learn About Hotels From Volunteer Pros

May 19, 2004 — When Jeanette Smith, Charlotte Amalie High School principal, was faced with a challenge of finding an instructor for the school's Hotel Training class she knew where to turn.
Ecidro Wesselhoft had retired at the end of the last school year, and "things didn't work out" with a replacement teacher that the school had hired, Smith said.
After a month of having no instructor for the class, Smith, in late January, turned to Edward Thomas, member of the board of directors for the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association and CEO of the West Indian Company.
"I was just desperate," Smith said. "I knew that the Hotel & Tourism Association would be the best route."
Thomas spoke with HTA President Beverly Nicholson about the situation and the association provided not one, but two part-time instructors for the class for the duration of the semester at no expense to the school or the Department of Education.
David Yamada, chairman of the HTA's Hospitality Focus Group Committee, and Samuel Rey, owner of Host U, stepped up to the challenge.
In appreciation of their service, the CAHS Hotel Training Class honored the two gentlemen at an appreciation dinner Tuesday evening at the Holiday Inn.
"These last 16 weeks has been a great experience for me," Yamada said. "I have a whole new respect for teachers."
Yamada, who has been in the hotel business for the last 30 years, said he was encouraged by the "vast potential" in the students.
"The territory is in good hands," Yamada said.
Rey said he also enjoyed the time working with the students.
"I'm very pleased to have been part of this education process in a small way," Rey said. "I know we have some students in here who will be future leaders in this industry."
Sheldon Brooks, junior CAHS student enrolled in the Hotel Training Class, said he enjoyed having someone in the field to teach him "not just about cooking but the hotel business as well."
"I see Mr. Yamada as a role model, someone who I can pattern my own career after," Brooks said.
Taiesha Lashley, junior CAHS student and president of the Hotel Training Class, said she enjoyed being taught by Yamada and Rey.
"Their experience in the field made me confident in what I was being taught," Lashley said.
Students presented both Yamada and Rey with plaques of appreciation for their service to the school.
Smith said she was grateful to the HTA for stepping in to help, but is "hoping that we can get a full-time teacher in the upcoming school year."

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May 19, 2004 — When Jeanette Smith, Charlotte Amalie High School principal, was faced with a challenge of finding an instructor for the school's Hotel Training class she knew where to turn.
Ecidro Wesselhoft had retired at the end of the last school year, and "things didn't work out" with a replacement teacher that the school had hired, Smith said.
After a month of having no instructor for the class, Smith, in late January, turned to Edward Thomas, member of the board of directors for the St. Thomas-St. John Hotel & Tourism Association and CEO of the West Indian Company.
"I was just desperate," Smith said. "I knew that the Hotel & Tourism Association would be the best route."
Thomas spoke with HTA President Beverly Nicholson about the situation and the association provided not one, but two part-time instructors for the class for the duration of the semester at no expense to the school or the Department of Education.
David Yamada, chairman of the HTA's Hospitality Focus Group Committee, and Samuel Rey, owner of Host U, stepped up to the challenge.
In appreciation of their service, the CAHS Hotel Training Class honored the two gentlemen at an appreciation dinner Tuesday evening at the Holiday Inn.
"These last 16 weeks has been a great experience for me," Yamada said. "I have a whole new respect for teachers."
Yamada, who has been in the hotel business for the last 30 years, said he was encouraged by the "vast potential" in the students.
"The territory is in good hands," Yamada said.
Rey said he also enjoyed the time working with the students.
"I'm very pleased to have been part of this education process in a small way," Rey said. "I know we have some students in here who will be future leaders in this industry."
Sheldon Brooks, junior CAHS student enrolled in the Hotel Training Class, said he enjoyed having someone in the field to teach him "not just about cooking but the hotel business as well."
"I see Mr. Yamada as a role model, someone who I can pattern my own career after," Brooks said.
Taiesha Lashley, junior CAHS student and president of the Hotel Training Class, said she enjoyed being taught by Yamada and Rey.
"Their experience in the field made me confident in what I was being taught," Lashley said.
Students presented both Yamada and Rey with plaques of appreciation for their service to the school.
Smith said she was grateful to the HTA for stepping in to help, but is "hoping that we can get a full-time teacher in the upcoming school year."

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice... click here.