Aruba, although a small island in the Caribbean, very early on in its development stages to become a country was innovative in where it embraced the Hospitality and Tourism industry. In the early sixties after the opening of the Aruba Caribbean Hotel the Government of Aruba provided scholarships for students in the hospitality industry studies. Private training programs were very common at that time. A great example of this was the CHA-AHATA and the American Express programs.
In the late seventies the Aruba Trades and Training center was established. Courses were given in F & B, Front Office, and Customer Service among others and were modeled after the American Hotel & Motel Association recommended format. A few of our early instructors in the area of hospitality and tourism were trained in at the Cornell University Campus in Puerto Rico and in the USA.
This training center was located at what we know nowadays as the AHATA building and the former ATA building at Eagle, and a second location was established at The Old San Pedro Hospital.
When the Bushiri Beach Hotel opened its doors in 1982 this hospitality training institution, financed by the EU Development Fund, moved in as The Aruba Hospitality Training Center. There, in June of 1984, the first group of graduates were conferred an Associate of Science Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Aside from the Associate of Science Degree the school at that time also conferred a diploma, which was discontinued in the early 1990’s. The school and programs were modeled after the Florida International University Hospitality Management program. In the early 1990’s the Government of Aruba took over the management and coordination of the school. On December 2, 1996 it officially became part of the public school systems on the island of Aruba. In 1997 the school officially became part of the Colegio EPI system of vocational education (MBO).
In 1997 the school started a Culinary Arts division. The students could as of that moment earn an Associate of Science Degree in Culinary Arts. This program was modeled in accordance with the programs and guidelines established by De Rooie Pannen in the Netherlands and the American Culinary Federation.
In 2002, in partnership with stakeholders of the industry, the school started with a Cook Certification which was named the Apprenticeship Program, which was modeled after the American Culinary Federation program.
Between 2002-2004, and after the closing of the Bushiri Beach Resort, the school moved temporarily to the Talk of The Town Resort, with very limited facilities to conduct classes. In the spring of 2004 the school finally moved to its present location at Colegio EPI in Seroe Blanco.
The school grew from 125 students to an average of 450 students, and from 8-9 faculty members to an average of 28 faculty members at present time.
If we take a look at the sequential numbering for our students and cohorts we can share some interesting facts:
- ·Our first graduate conferred with an Associate of Science Degree was :
- Mr. Patricio Arrindell – 10th of August 1984
- Our latest graduate conferred with an Associate of Science Degree was:
- Mr. Andre Pontilius – 2nd of July 2014
- Our first graduate conferred with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts was:
- Mr. Ellion Angela 14th July 2001
- Our latest graduate conferred with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Culinary Arts was:
- Mr. Jean Claude Werleman – 2nd July 2014
- Our first Cook Certification issued was bestowed upon:
- Mr. Jose Luis Cardenas – 12th March 2004
- Our latest Cook Certification issued was bestowed upon:
- Mr. David Galezo – 2nd July 2014
We are proud to boast that the faculty members at our school are, and have always been, comprised of an amazing combination of qualified teachers and industry veterans and it always subscribes to the norms of diversity and inclusion.
For the 30 years celebration of our school we would like to take a moment and acknowledge all of the outstanding faculty members who dedicated, and may still be dedicating their life in forming and educating leaders in the industry on the island of Aruba. We would like to give a special dedication in loving memory to:
- Frans Ras
- Silvio do Nascimento
- Anton Fredricks
- Tim Werleman
We would like to also acknowledge and commend the leadership that provided vision and direction for the school throughout the 30 years. In particular we would like to recognize Mr. Tony Green who from 1984 – 2004 served as the General Director for the school, and all the different management teams that continued with the leadership of the school after 2004.
To all other industry professionals and educators, past and present, whom ever taught at our school a sincere and heartfelt thank you for your contribution, passion and commitment.
Some other facts as we celebrate 30 years:
- Over 3000 students served
- More than 600 Associate of Science Degree Graduates
- More than 175 Associate of Applied Science Degree Graduates
- More than 100 Certified Cook certifications
- Schools that our graduates attended in the USA: were FIU, UCF, NAU, UNO, UNLV, Culinary Schools (CIA, Johnson & Wales, Ft. Lauderdale Culinary Arts Institute) and many others
- In Holland: Stenden University, The Hague Hotel School, NHTV among others
In Aruba, the University of Aruba also provides a bachelor’s and master’s degree program in the area of Hospitality & Tourism which did include, and still includes, quite a few graduates that came from Colegio EPI unit Hospitality & Tourism.
Nowadays, the school also provides tailor-made program to the Aruban business community. A few of our recent projects were collaborations with the Hyatt Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Playa Linda, Caribbean Palm Village, Aruba Secretaries Association, Aruba Human Resources Association and several others.
Finally, to the entire Aruban Community which we are part of, we sincerely thank you for your belief in our education system and programs, and we look forward to your continuous support as we chart and shape the next years of our journey as a hospitality & tourism education institution.
To make the 30 year celebration special the Hospitality Committee at the unit, consisting of faculty members, decided to include students as well as part of the 30 years celebration. A competition was created to have students design a logo that not only celebrates the 30 years of hospitality & tourism education, but that also speaks of the essence of the spirit of hospitality and inclusive of Aruba as an island. The winning logo was designed by student Catherine Tromp, and used creativity and artistry around the elements of the Aruban flag and the pineapple (as the official symbol of hospitality). The logo was officially presented to the faculty members and student body during the Commencement and Graduation Ceremonies on July 3, 2014. This logo will be used throughout the school year 2014-2015 on all official communication by the school (including the unit web page) to observe such an important occasion.Tags: H&T