Every year since 2011, the Belize Hotel Association has been providing financial assistance in the form of scholarships to the children of employees working with member hotels.
The BHA chooses its scholarship recipients on the basis of merit and financial need, and this year, they were able to come up with funding to help 5 applicants from different parts of the country.
Normally, this BHA scholarship program would have been a joint venture with the Belize Tourism Board, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges, the Hotel Association has to pursue the tradition without the BTB.
Still, they held a virtual ceremony today to introduce the 5 recipients of this year's scholarship fund, and they invited the press to attend the ceremony. 7News was there, and here are the words of encouragement that the Association's President had for the deserving scholars:
Ted Tejada - President, BHA
"On behalf of the Hotel Association, I would offer our sincere gratitude to everyone that has collaborated in making this possible. This project started in 2011, and it has been a top priority for BHA every to raise funds, every year, to raise funds. You can imagine from 2011 to today, how many students we have patronized. Today, we are giving scholarships to 5 students. Our members and boards have been generous with their time and resources to make this reality. I believe last year, we were able to raise over $11,000, in ordered to put into our scholarship fund. Through these financially challenging times, more than ever, we need to keep making the best and most rewarding investments we make, which is education for our future. As we are all aware, tourism contributes to over 46% of the GDP of this nation. And recently, 90% of the employees in the tourism sector had to be laid off. So, they've lost their financial backing. So, with that in mind, we the BHA/the Belize Hotel Association, feel very proud today that we have been able to award 5 scholarships to children of our members."
Kyanie Caal - Recipient, BHA Scholarship
"I am 12 years old. I am from the village of San Roman, Stann Creek District. I will be attending the first form at Independence High School. When it comes to family income, my father is the only financial provider and is working at the Chabel Mar Resort. Receiving the scholarship has greatly reduced the financial burden of my family."
Blythe Thompson - Recipient, BHA Scholarship
"I'm currently attending Saint Catherine's Academy, in the class, 3S1. My mother is presently employed at Atlantic Bank limited. I felt truly grateful to be able to have this opportunity."
Selene Almendarez - BHA Scholarship Recipient
"I'm currently attending Independence Junior College, 1st year, majoring in tourism, and this is actually my second time receiving a scholarship from Belize Hotel Association. They've held me out in my senior year, and they're now helping me out in my college year."
Kyarah Williams - BHA Scholarship Recipient
"I'm 18 years old. I am in my third year at the University of Belize, doing a bachelor's in social work. I was able to apply for the Belize Hotel association Scholarship through my dad, Gary Williams, who works at the Great House. I've been on the scholarship since my first year at Saint Catherine's Academy. So, this makes it 7 years now."
Raonie Guerra - BHA Scholarship Recipient
"I'm a student at Sacred Heart College, class 3E. My dad is employed at the lodge at Chaa Creek. I was really surprised when I was awarded this scholarship from the Belize Hotel Association, and this is the first time that I have received a scholarship from this association."
"BHA is buying a ticket to success; do not waste it. Make the best out of it."
The scholarship covers 1 year of tuition, fees, and books a value up to $1,500 for each recipient.