Holiday Inn Honors Student Workers

Pictured left to right with Harrisburg East Holiday Inn General Manager, Randy Stuart: Aubrey Whitmer, Justin Mihalovits, Antonia Hiester. Not pictured: Emerald Gray and Michael O'Brien.

 

On Friday, June 20, 2014, five Middletown Area High School students were recognized by the Harrisburg East Holiday Inn as outstanding employees. Emerald Gray, Antonia Hiester, Justin Mihalovits, Michael O’Brien and Aubrey Whitmer were participants in a transitional vocation program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities sponsored by The ARC. Beginning in December, 2013, the young adults joined the staff of the Holiday Inn and received on-the-job training in the areas of maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, kitchen, and banqueting. They completed tasks such as placing hangers in closets, cleaning rooms, vacuuming, restocking toiletries, doing laundry, assisting in the kitchen, and preparing and clearing banquet tables. “I liked hanging hangers and putting spoons on the table,” said Justin. Antonia’s favorite job was working with Mike and Lori in the banquet department. “I liked dumping out the cups and clearing the tables. Mike would give me sour candy. I really like Lori. She’s my friend. And we got to eat afterward! They have the BEST chocolate cake here!”

Housekeeping Supervisor, Geri Osborn, was thrilled with the program. “The students were hard workers, fast learners and were highly motivated. And not only were they being trained in skills which can help them in future vocations, but they were learning basic life skills that they will be able to use the rest of their lives.” Ms. Osborn said the Holiday Inn staff thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would definitely like to work with more students in the future. Participants like Aubrey were a pleasure to have around. “I have a lot of friends here,” confirmed Aubrey. “I had so much fun.”

Holiday Inn General Manager, Randy Stuart, honored the five participants at a monthly staff luncheon. “There are no challenges except the ones you make on your own,” Mr. Stuart said to his staff as he choked back tears. “These young people have inspired me like no other over the past several months.” The friendships that developed were evident. “Mr. Randy is my favorite,” said Aubrey. Hugs were heightened with tears and emotions as the staff said their goodbyes and the students proudly clutched their awards as they exited the hotel a bit more prepared for what lies ahead.

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