Sandals Resorts and the Local School Community - A Winning Combination
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.