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Students Learn About Job Options at First Tourism Career Fair

May 14, 2008 — More than 200 high school juniors and seniors from St. Croix got up close with representatives of the tourism industry Wednesday at the first Tourism Career Fair, held in the Great Hall at the University of the Virgin Islands.
"In observance of National Tourism Week, we wanted to sponsor a special event locally," said Yolanda Bryan, communications specialist at the V.I. Department of Tourism. "We found something geared toward juniors and seniors, giving them valuable information on careers in tourism. Our goal is to promote tourism education."
There was an incentive for students to pay attention to information offered at the fair: They could answer questions about tourism in the printed program to get entered into a drawing for electronics prizes. The drawing proved a big attraction, with yells and screams as the prizes were given.
Sherlian Obenis took first place, winning a DVD player. Shomari Ross took second place, winning a camera, while Fabiana Constable won an MP3 player.
The V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association also helped sponsor the fair. Numerous representatives from the organization gave out information on a wide array of careers in tourism.
"The students asked a lot of questions and showed an interest in diving and charters," said Michelle Pugh from Dive Experience. "We need more women and locals in the dive business, but many are afraid of the water and the unknown. We have to educate and break the cycle of fear of water."
Sharing a table with Pugh was Marcia Taylor from the University of the Virgin Islands.
"If we get people in the water they will experience how beautiful the sea is and take care of it," Taylor said. She gave information on marine-related careers at the university.
Chris Lannen, designer of the GoToStCroix website, presented career information on web design and marketing.
Quite a few students showed an interest in careers with Seaborne Airlines, said Cassandra Thomas, the company's human resources assistant. She told the students about the airline's summer internship program, where students shadow workers whose jobs they think might be interesting. Students could find themselves behind the reservation desk or working with mechanics.
"After talking to Seaborne, I think I would like to become a pilot," said Magdalina Oversen, from the Educational Complex.
Representatives of the Department of Labor manned a table with details on the process of finding work. Divi Carina Bay Resort had information on careers in massage therapy. Roberto Escobar, sous chef at Beach Side Café at Sand Castle on the Beach, had the attention of the students while making Bananas Foster. The wedding planner at Buccaneer Resort told students about what goes into planning a beach resort wedding.
"Wedding planning sounds like a career I could be good at," said Dolymar Cruz, a student at Central High School. "I like design and planning."
Organizers were pleased with the fair.
"We were successful with our goal, which was to inform students of careers in tourism and marketing," said Kisa Harris, information officer for Tourism.
Added Bryan, "We will do this again next year, and it will be bigger and better."
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