Biloxi High Students Prepare To Be Future Coast Tourism Leaders

In the years to come more of the Coast's tourism leaders could be home grown. A new program at Biloxi High School teaches students skills in hotel, restaurant, and tourism management. One day student could be running a chain of restaurants, hotel general managers or executive housekeepers, but for now they're learning the right way to enter the room of a hotel guest and how to handle customers.

Students say activities like role playing not only allows them to evaluate what works and what doesn't, it also keeps class interesting.

"The age group that you deal with in high school students can become disinterested really quickly," high school senior Ian August said. "This is why hands on activities are more interesting than non hands on activities obviously if your just working in a book you might tune out the teacher and not listen and miss something."

Front desk, house keeping, and security are some of the basic skills instructor Cherie Labat is using to prepare students for the hospitality industry. Mostly the class focuses on learning management and she's telling the students to aim high.

"Look at the pyramid, look at the top and look at where you want to be," said Labat. "Model those people that you see in positions of management and try to go get it."

The students have ventured outside the classroom to visit a local casino and a bed and breakfast. Instructor Cherie Labat says the program has already helped two students find jobs in the hospitality field.