Port Royal Primary School P4 students with BHI Volunteer - Chef Livio Ferigo, executive chef and owner, Bonefish Bar & Grill and Café Amici. *Photo supplied
Port Royal Primary School P4 students with BHI Volunteer - Chef Livio Ferigo, executive chef and owner, Bonefish Bar & Grill and Café Amici. *Photo supplied

With the school year having now ended many of the Island’s schools reflected on this year’s triumphs and named the Hospitality School Program one of their successful ventures for the 2012-2013 academic year. Teachers thoroughly enjoyed participating in the program, with those involved calling the program “excellent.”

The program, an initiative of the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, started in the spring term of 2012 at seven schools and involved 40 hospitality industry volunteers representing over a dozen organizations. The program teaches school children hospitality skills and how they can be used as life skills, with lesson plans centred on Bermuda tourism, manners, character, integrity and dining etiquette.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, the program served 10 schools: St David’s Primary, Francis Patton, Elliot Primary, Victor Scott Primary, Heron Bay, Port Royal Primary, Dalton E Tucker, Whitney Institute Middle School, Dellwood Middle School and Clearwater Middle School.

Participating school leaders gave the program rave reviews. Said Valerie Williams, Principal of Victor Scott Primary: “I believe that the seeds that are being planted early in our students about the importance of our hospitality industry will bear fruit in years to come.”

One schoolteacher noted: “This is an excellent way to bring volunteers into the classroom so that students can see the relevancy of education for the future.”

Another added: “The program is excellent and gives relevant information for the students on Bermuda’s culture and tourism industry.”

Ms Williams also discussed the positive results seen in those children who participated in the program.

“Our students displayed a heightened awareness of our tourism industry and the importance of being polite to visitors in our building, and the P4 parents noted how excited the students were about performing the hospitality jingle.”

When asked why her school introduced the Hospitality School Program, Dellwood Middle School Principal, Lisa Marshall, said: “The Hospitality Life Skills Program was introduced at Dellwood in September 2012. The program was introduced to the M2 students who were taking Family Studies in Semester 1. There is a module in the Family Studies curriculum called Hospitality Industry which was taught many years ago when the middle schools first came into existence. The current HSP program is a natural fit for middle level students.”

Ms Marshall added: ‘The program taught the students about the ‘old Bermuda’ of yesterday when people were friendly and hospitable to tourists and to each other. Students learned to role-play different scenarios about being hospitable. They were able to take risks and show a different side of themselves that they don't normally portray in the classroom. Those students who were always getting into mischief at school, ‘shined’ when they were put into this type of program. The program brought out skills and traits in certain students who their teacher could see working in the industry in a couple of years.”

Though the teachers named the improvements in their students as a highlight of the program, they also noted the exceptional work of BHI as a great asset of the program as well. “The four week program was well-organised. All materials and worksheets were given ahead of time,” said Ms Marshall.

With completion of the Hospitality School Program being such a success, plans are in the works to introduce the program to news schools for the upcoming academic year. To learn more about BHI or to get involved in the Hospitality School Program, please visit www.bhi.bm.