Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

Scholarship Applications
2019 AOHT Scholarship Application (Click link for fillable ADOBE application)

2019 AOHT Alumni Scholarship Application (Click link for fillable ADOBE application)

Baldwin High School
Lahainaluna High School
Maui High School

National Academy Foundation


Launched in 1987 by a non-profit organization called the National Academy Foundation (NAF), the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism prepares students for post-secondary education and careers through a theme-based, contextualized curriculum approach. Academic learning experiences are combined with hands-on work experience to help students develop the thinking and problem-solving skills critical to post-secondary education and career success. The Academy provides public high school students with the requisite knowledge and skills for a successful career in one of the world’s largest service industries, through a curriculum that provides an in-depth look at all aspects of tourism and hospitality, including coursework in business, geography, hospitality, and economics. The Academy of Hospitality & Tourism operates as a small learning community and is located in more than 110 high schools nationwide.

Watch this video to learn more about NAF Academies:

The World’s Largest Industry

As one of the world’s largest industries, hospitality and tourism offer a wide variety of career choices to employees at every experience level. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment is at an all-time high of 13,745,800 in 2012. Moreover, the employment boom is expected to continue; occupational forecasts indicate an increase of 9.3 percent through 2022.

Meeting the Needs

The need for academic instruction and practical industry-related work experience to prepare young people to enter this exciting field is more critical than ever. Through their Academy experience, students gain an understanding of the connections that exist between their education and the workplace. Academy teachers and industry mentors provide students with the curriculum and guidance necessary for rewarding careers. With more than 500 travel-related companies participating as business partners, the Academy fosters the personal, analytical, technical and communications skills needed for a career path in hospitality and tourism.


NAF provides a curriculum that has been developed in collaboration with partners representing industry, associations, higher education, and the NAF network. In addition, NAF provides a set of courses, further divided into units that are comprised of projects and lessons. Each course is typically designed to comprise one semester. In a traditional sense, the Academy courses are considered “electives” for a school or a district. NAF also provides an outline of objectives for the Academy which instructors are free to use or integrate their own material, as long as they cover the course objectives.

The Academy Model

  • A career-themed small learning community comprises the resources, leadership, and supports needed to sustain the Academy and features NAF’s curriculum–designed, reviewed, and updated regularly by a team of educators and industry experts;
  • Community partnerships includes the collaboration between the school and the larger community, toward the development of local advisory boards and paid student internships—a critical factor in connecting the “real world” to classroom study;
  • Professional development ensures that all stakeholders have regular opportunities to enhance their academy related skills and competencies through NAF conferences, technical assistance materials, and other local activities

NAF’s Mission

The mission is to support the development of youth, towards personal and professional success in high school, in higher education and throughout their careers. AOHT represents a business/school partnership that prepares young people for future careers through a combination of school-based curricula and work-based experience.

Maui’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism


The first academy in Hawaii began in the early 1990’s at Lahainaluna High School funded by a one-time donation from Ka’anapali Beach Hotel. Because of its success, Maui High School and Baldwin also joined the program in 1994 & 1995 respectively. Currently, there are approximately 220 students enrolled in the AOHT programs in Baldwin, Lahainaluna and Maui High Schools.

Project Summary

The AOHT overall goal is to provide exposure to and to prepare a workforce for the visitor industry which is the primary economic driver for Hawaii. Participating high school students have the ability to earn credit towards graduation and receive internships, job shadowing opportunities, and scholarships. Most importantly, AOHT hopes to better prepare our youth for employment in the industry and keep them in Hawaii for the future.

Board of Directors

AOHT is directed by Board of Directors. Members are from many facets of the visitor industry. They represent hotels, transportation, activities, retail, restaurants, visitor industry associations, airlines, post-secondary education, DOE, and community. Their goals are as follows:

  • To sustain and support workforce development in the visitor industry;
  • To offer opportunities for exposure of high school students to as many facets of the industry as possible;
  • To provide exposure to the host culture and emphasize Hawaiiana as an integral part of Hawaii tourism;
  • To provide scholarships for continuing education in the area of hospitality & tourism;
  • To provide opportunities for internships and career shadowing

Goals & Objectives

The goal of AOHT is to provide exposure to students who would not ordinarily have an introduction to the industry and to offer exposure to a visitor’s point-of-view. Our main objectives are to provide internships for “hands-on” experience in the workforce and to provide scholarships to those who wish to continue their education in the visitor industry.

Understanding the significance & relevance of Hawaii’s host culture, it is one of AOHT’s primary objectives to educate students of the need to foster goodwill amongst the industry and the community, to cultivate respect for the host culture, to preserve this special place; and to balance the benefits and challenges of tourism.

Business Support

Internships play a key role in the development and the interaction between students and businesses. The support of visitor industry business partners continues to bridge this developmental skill-building opportunity. These part-time jobs also enable students to gain real live work experiences.

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association provides significant support of the AOHT program. Each year, MHLA sponsors an “Excellence in Education” golf tournament which raises funds for AOHT scholarships. MHLA provides administrative support for the AOHT program.

Community Involvement

Giving back to the community is also a part of the AOHT curriculum. Towards this end, all academies are required to participate in volunteerism and provide community service projects to various organizations. Community Service is an integral part of the program.


The program provides students with:

  • Exposure to the industry and the myriad of careers available
  • An understanding of the visitor’s perspective
  • An understanding of the importance of giving back to the community

Thus, they are enabled to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Become employable
  • Gain confidence
  • Continue to post-secondary education with a better understanding of careers available

After being exposed to the visitor industry via internships and job shadowing, students are often hired after proficiently learning the skills that qualify them for regular employment. This valuable employment opportunity allows them a head-start on careers within the industry as they pursue their individual careers, or more importantly, degrees at the post-secondary level. This ongoing cycle creates a win-win situation for students, education and the community by improving the quality of our workforce.

Contact information:

Lisa Paulson, AOHT Co-Chair
Lorelle Peros, AOHT Co-Chair
1727 Wili Pa Loop, Suite B
Wailuku, HI 96793

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