Dozens of Biloxi High students now know what it takes to succeed in the hospitality industry. They got a first hand lesson Monday from Wendy Bryant and her tour bus company. It's a business Bryant started when she wasn't much older than the students.
"It can be done. Because a lot of people in the beginning, when I started my business, looked at me and looked at my age and didn't take me seriously," said Bryant.
The business of transporting customers to their vacation destinations has done so well that Bryant has branched out into booking cruises. Success is sweet, but the Trinity Tour and Travel staff made sure the students realized there are still struggles.
Jim Bryant is Wendy's father and a co-owner in the business.
"Basically for this bus here, for us to make a dollar, [we have to] bring in $13,000 a month. That's our break even point."
Biloxi High senior Tim Ber said the day's lesson showed that while opening your own business is risky, "there is hope for succeeding."
At the Gulf Hills Hotel in Ocean Springs students learned the phrase "that's not my job" doesn't exist. With only 13 on staff, the night auditor also does laundry and the general manager has cleaned more than a room or two.
Donna Brown, hotel general manager, said "One of the things I learned at a very early age was if you provide the customers with the absolute best in service in caring, in cleanliness, attitude, you can cover a lot of faults."
Students said after visiting the hotel they understood the importance of teamwork.
"I'll take away the fact that if you work with the what little you have... you can make so much more out of it." Caitlin Hengl, a Biloxi High student.