Hospitality Students Learn Life Skills at New Orleans-based Non Profit

06/14/2016 by Bob Keyes

PORTSMOUTH - Seven students from the Great Bay Community College Hospitality Club recently returned from New Orleans, where they spent time with students and staff at a nonprofit restaurant and event center that helps at-risk youth.

Students from Great Bay connected with the mission of the New Orleans-based Café Reconcile, which teaches life skills through the hospitality industry.

Dawn Comito, Great Bay’s Hospitality Management Department Chair and Club Advisor, said club members drive the mission and direction of the club each year. In previous years, they have attended professional conferences in Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Club members worked over the course of the year to raise money to pay for the trip. “The group volunteered more than 700 hours in the community, including assisting the United Way and Strawberry Banke” said Comito.  “In addition to fundraising, the trip would not have been possible however without  the  many hospitality business and education partners who acted as sponsors,  including the Portsmouth Brewery, Atlantic Hospitality Group and The Portsmouth Spa.  The students are very grateful.”

Club Secretary Laura Johnson said the trip was fun-filled and busy, with ferry rides on the Mississippi River, long strolls on Bourbon Street and a muddy side trip to Jazzfest. “But the highlight of the trip by far was meeting the students and staff at Café Reconcile,” she said.

Katti Mowers, Club Treasurer, said she learned a lot planning the trip, working with a limited budget and overcoming challenging logistics. “This was a great learning experience, because I was able to hurdle all of the obstacles, as I would need to in my future as an event planner,” she said.

Participating students included Kait Short, Dover; Laura Johnson, Derry; Jessie LaFleur, Candia; Matt Joyal, Farmington; Amanda Doyle, Barrington; Michelle Zannini, Berwick, Maine; Katti Mowers, Epping.    

Great Bay Community College currently offers an Associate in Science Degree in Hospitality Management offering students two concentration options to choose from. The Hospitality Management – Direct Career option is recommended for students who plan to begin their career immediately after graduation from Great Bay. The Hospitality Management - University Transfer option, developed in  consultation with the Hospitality Management Department at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire is specifically designed to prepare students for transfer to a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at a four-year college or university.    

Participating students included Kait Short, Dover; Laura Johnson, Derry; Jessie LaFleur, Candia; Matt Joyal, Farmington; Amanda Doyle, Barrington; Michelle Zannini, Berwick, Maine; Katti Mowers, Epping.