Career and Technical Education in action: Hospitality and Tourism


Creating the perfect experience

The quality of customer service often shapes experiences, and students at Justin F. Kimball High School are learning to create unforgettable moments for people through the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism (AOHT) at their school.

During their first year, students in the academy are introduced to the industry by planning a family vacation to learn the four main sectors of hospitality and tourism: transportation, lodging, food and beverage, and entertainment.

“We learn how to relate the industry to the real world. We have guest speakers come speak to us, we prepare delicious dishes, and we participate in work-based learning. I look forward to coming to my hospitality class because I know we’ll always do fun activities,” Diana E., AOHT senior, said. “My favorite part about being in the academy was landing an internship with the Hilton Anatole Hotel. The skills and knowledge I learned in class helped me tremendously.”

The academy’s curriculum spans social media marketing to business operations, introducing students to various skills rooted in client experience. Aside from becoming hotel managers, they are equipped to thrive as flight attendants, waiters, travel agents, housekeepers, restaurant owners, bakers, or chefs after high school. Students also familiarize themselves with the industry’s history, tracing back to the 1800s when transportation referred to horse carriages and entertainment commonly meant seeing a circus. 

Much of the students’ education is supplemented by shadowing business leaders who partner with Dallas ISD including the Omni Hotel, Hilton Anatole, Great Wolf Lodge, and DART Rail system. These opportunities help students forge relationships with professionals and implement their classroom-acquired knowledge in practical scenarios.

“Recently, we went to Maggiano’s Little Italy at North Park Center and they learned how to make pasta from scratch. At Maggiono’s, if they want to enter the culinary sector, starting as a dishwasher is a requirement. The reason they do it is so people understand the chain of command and have respect for everyone,” Alisha Jones, Career and Technical Education teacher, said. “In the hospitality and tourism industry, people look down on entry-level positions, but companies couldn’t run successfully without them, so I love it.”

By the time they graduate, AOHT students gain four certifications and complete an internship during the summer of their senior year. They’ve previously interned with Capital One, Baylor Scott & White, the Dallas Police Department, and Verizon. Students graduate from the academy with a comprehensive skill set encompassing team building, marketing, conflict resolution, organization, communication, time management, and budgeting skills. 

“It doesn’t matter where you work, we’re showing our students how to treat people with respect,” Jones said. “Even if they decide not to go into the industry, they’re still getting real-life experience within our program. They can go into any field with the skills we’re teaching them and be successful.”

February marks “CTE Month” providing a chance to showcase the opportunities available to Dallas ISD students as they pursue Career and Technical Education (CTE). In addition to their core classes, students at the high and middle school levels can explore up to 13 career clusters to help prepare them for their future.

Learn more about how Dallas ISD is celebrating CTE Month, here.


Exit mobile version