Sandals Re­sorts and the Lo­cal School Com­mu­nity - A Win­ning Com­bi­na­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Sandals Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional’s Chair­man Gor­don “Butch” Ste­wart re­mains con­sis­tent in his com­mit­ment to the sus­tained eco­nomic devel­op­ment of the Caribbean and the ed­u­ca­tional ad­vance­ment of its peo­ple. Mr. Ste­wart says, “We com­pete with a num­ber of des­ti­na­tions: Paris, the Far East, Alaska and Mex­ico, among oth­ers, but the guests keep com­ing back to our world-class ser­vice that is un­matched.”

This com­mit­ment to devel­op­ment and ed­u­ca­tion man­i­fests it­self in a num­ber of ways. It finds ex­pres­sion across the re­gion where Sandals op­er­ates, and is man­aged by the Sandals Foun­da­tion. Sandals guests re­main ac­tively in­ter­ested in this phil­an­thropic ap­proach to op­er­at­ing re­sorts and are very keen on en­joy­ing sun, sea, and sand and ed­u­ca­tion, which pro­vides added value to the va­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion to send­ing school sup­plies, guests book tours to visit schools as part of the Read­ing Road Trip.

Presently in Saint Lu­cia there is a re­newed thrust to en­cour­age stu­dents who study tourism as part of the so­cial stud­ies cur­ricu­lum to visit and ex­pe­ri­ence the Sandals tourism plant. To this end, stu­dents from the Banse La Grace Pri­mary School, Leon Hess Sec­ondary School and Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary School have been part of or­ga­nized work­shops and tours to the Sandals Re­sorts on is­land. Work­shop ses­sions have been or­ga­nized to pro­vide the stu­dents with a wealth of knowl­edge about tourism: what it is, how it op­er­ates, the role it plays in the econ­omy, who is re­spon­si­ble for pol­icy that would im­pact the in­dus­try, and many other re­lated con­cepts.

Dur­ing the most re­cent work­shop ac­tiv­ity which was held at the Sandals Grande St Lu­cian Spa and Beach Re­sort, 45 stu­dents and five teach­ers from the Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary School were ex­posed to the back-end of the tourism prod­uct that a world-class re­sort in Saint Lu­cia of­fers. The stu­dents were par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the pos­si­bil­i­ties for em­ploy­ment, cov­er­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in a num­ber of de­part­ments in­clud­ing public re­la­tions, sales and mar­ket­ing, ad­min­is­tra­tion, the kitchen, bars, house­keep­ing, en­ter­tain­ment, land­scap­ing and other rev­enue-gen­er­at­ing ar­eas such as the spa, the photo shop and wed­dings.

Ker­lanna Jules, a third­form stu­dent among the group, was more than thrilled to have made the tour. Hav­ing com­pleted a short quiz at the end of the work­shop, she was the lucky re­cip­i­ent of a Dell com­puter, do­nated by a guest who had va­ca­tioned at the Sandals Grande St. Lu­cian Spa and Beach Re­sort. Ker­lanna is an out­spo­ken, en­er­getic stu­dent, de­scribed by class teacher Ms. Au­gustin as “the spirit of her home room”. On ac­cept­ing her gift, she said, “I al­most did not come on the tour to­day. My teacher paid my trans­porta­tion and made it pos­si­ble for me to at­tend. I am so happy to win this com­puter as I did not have one.”

Ker­lanna, a mem­ber of her school’s foot­ball team, shows tremen­dous po­ten­tial. Sandals rep­re­sen­ta­tives wish her and the other stu­dents well for the fu­ture.

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