If one peered into a crystal ball 20 years ago and tried to perceive the future of tourism and hospitality in Brooklyn, they would have been hard-pressed to see artisanal pizza tours across the borough, or popping into the once-distressed neighborhood of Bushwick for a curated sampling of graffiti art.
Realizing the dynamic nature of the hospitality and tourism industry, the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) at SJC Brooklyn held their bi-annual “Hospichallenge” competition on March 16.
The interactive event, conducted by Hospitalented, the student-run HTM club at SJC Brooklyn, brought together some 70 hospitality and tourism students from five New York City high schools to compete in several different challenges based upon tasks they can expect to encounter in the workplace.
Back of the House Experience
“HospiChallenge is a great way for not only high school students but also students of SJC to get a feel of the back of the house experience in the hospitality industry,” said Khalia Foster, a sophomore HTM major and president of Hospitalented at SJC Brooklyn. “It is also a great way to learn new unique things from different professions and meet really cool people that are already in the industry.”
Hospitality Teams of Five
Students from Grover Cleveland High School, Long Island City High School, Tottenville High School, University Neighborhood High School, and Erasmus High School formed into teams of five to square off for the in-person competitions, and several of the challenges, such as planning tours to new destinations and coordinating visits to major global events, were completed by each of the schools beforehand.
The remaining events saw the teams cleaning and resetting tables, creating items out of recycled materials and folding towel animals, with SJC students serving as judges and advisors. At the end of these competitions and after the pre-event exercises were tallied, it was determined that a team from Grover Cleveland High School won by two points, the slimmest margin in the history of these competitions.
Wanting to Learn About Hospitality
“The Hospitality Challenge was an exciting and energetic relay of hands-on experiences that allowed our students to apply the skills we learn in the classroom to the dining room,” said David Schwartz, culinary instructor at Tottenville High School. “The staff and students at St.Joseph’s College have a knack for showing their programs off in a way that entices students to want to learn and certainly experience more than they ever anticipated.”