Hotel school for high school students

March 9, 2010 3:20:39 PM PST
At the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Midtown, a guest relations professional delivered a complimentary gift to a guest room, "shadowed" by a high school student. "I've learned about guest relations and how you should have a good attitude and service should always be good," Kiana Morgan said.

For Hassan Malik, it is a rotation through the hotel's pastry department, where the pros really put him to work.

"I would have never thought of being a pastry chef, but it's doesn't seem like something you would dread doing," Malik said.

The students have been shadowing professionals here at the Ritz-Carlton and more than 20 other hotels in the city, as part of a citywide program that teaches the hotel and tourism businesses at 34 public high schools.

It is part of a larger program run by the National Academy Foundation, through its partnerships with private industry.

"We have academies in hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering and finance," spokesperson Colleen Devery said,

"Students of any academic level are welcome to come in. We don't screen students. We want to help students who want to help themselves," said Regina Flannery, Academy Director in New York City.

Tourism and hospitality offer potential for students in New York City.

"It's a very big industry. There's lots of opportunity and there are so many different job combinations," said Scott Gerhaghty, general manger of the Ritz-Carlton.

Academy students seem to get the message.

"They have helped me realize that the future is now and you need to start thinking about the future now, and right now the future is looking quite progressive, for me," Alpha Barry said.

For more information about the program, please visit the National Academy Foundation website at