Tourism, Education Go Together

Mufi Hannemann
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April 20, 2011 | Hawaiian Airlines Discount Share

Oahu honorees during the luncheon at the Waikiki Beach Marriott last Friday. Nathalie Walker photo .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Editor’s note: With this issue, MidWeek introduces a new column focusing on Hawaii’s largest industry, tourism, written by a man who knows it well, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association.

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 the billions of dollars in revenue that support our educational system.

But the visitor industry also takes a very active role in our school system. The Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association, for example, organizes internships, provides college scholarships, coordinates partnerships between member companies and schools, and supports learning in other ways.

Industry representatives, meanwhile, participate in career fairs, speak about tourism to students, and contribute to the community both professionally and personally.

One of the HHLA’s proudest achievements in education is the Citizenship Award, in which the association, Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Department of Education join every year to honor seniors from each of Hawaii’s 42 public 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 dint of their academic achievements or athletic success.

The award honors those young people who have contributed to making Hawaii a better place and who best exemplify the Department of Education’s vision of a model public high school graduate who, among other things, exercises the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Of the 42 honorees, 22 come from Oahu.

In addition to the scholarship, the honorees are to be featured in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and were feted at a luncheon, this year held April 15 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

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 Hawaii 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.


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