Tourism, Education Go Together

Christen Wilson

A largely unheralded but vitally important partnership in our Island community is between the visitor industry and our public schools. The industry depends on the schools to produce educated, skilled young people for its work force. Tourism creates jobs in the tens of thousands and generates billions of dollars in revenue that support our educational system.

The visitor industry also takes an active role in our school system. The Hawai’i Hotel andLodging Association, for example, organizes internships, provides college scholarships, coordinates partnerships between member companies and schools, and supports learning in other ways. Industry representatives participate in career fairs, speak about tourism to students, and contribute to the community both professionally and personally.

Branden Gatioan

One of the HHLA’s proudest achievements in education is the Citizenship Award, in which the association, Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Department of Education annually honor seniors from Hawai’i’s 42 public high schools for their service to school and community. The teens have chosen a path of civic service, and we believe these exceptional students merit public attention for their good deeds. A $1,000 scholarship is awarded to one top senior from each high school. Recipients are standouts among their classmates, though not necessarily by way of their academic achievements or athletic success. The award honors those young people who have contributed to making Hawai’i a better place and who best exemplify the DOE’s vision of a model public high school graduate who, among other things, exercises the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Esther Manumanu

Honorees on the Garden Island are Christen Wilson of Kapa’a High, Esther Manumanu of Kaua’i High and Branden Gatioan of Waimea High. Congratulations to each of them.

Honorees also are featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and are feted at a luncheon.

This will not be the last time we hear about, or from, these promising citizen-leaders. Their achievements should inspire us to give as much as we receive as citizens of Hawai’i and the United States. At the same time, the lengthy roll of business sponsors of the 42 Citizenship Awards points to the vitality of the visitor industry’s partnership with Hawaii’s schools and tourism’s commitment to ensuring that relationship’s strength and longevity.

Mufi Hannemann is HHLA president