Superior Seating Scholarship 2023 Winner Announcement

February 29
Superior Seating Hospitality, Culinary Arts  Interior Design, Scholarship 2023 Winner

Congratulations to Jacqueline Celentano from the University of Central Florida for winning the Superior Seating Scholarship with her compelling story of perseverance in Hospitality Management. Her journey from overcoming academic challenges to aspiring to become a Hospitality Professor is a testament to her resilience and passion.

For anyone looking for inspiration or facing challenges, we invite you to read Jacqueline's story. It's a reflection of dedication and the pursuit of one's dreams against all odds.


Hospitality and Tourism Management Graduate Program Goal Statement

By Jacqueline Celentano

My greatest asset is that I am persistent. I have accomplished so much, from walking the stage for my bachelor’s degree, to completing the testing requirements needed to become a certified teacher in the State of Florida; handling my personal struggles in between. Growing up, I always tried to fit where others thought I belonged. When I failed tests, or did not understand a conversation, I had felt below par removing myself before I embarrassed myself. As a consequence, I lost friends and did not reach my fullest potential.

One day I decided to push myself, through sweat and tears, to complete my 12th grade high school year with straight A’s, and completed my application to attend South Florida State College. I knew I needed smaller classes, and with my parents by my side, I was able to finish my two years of prerequisites. I chose to further my education and applied for the bachelor’s program in Business Management at the University of Central Florida. I have always been a “people person”, and with the help of a counselor, I added a minor in Hospitality Management. Halfway through the first semester, I realized my heart was not in business. I enjoyed Rosen College, and though my parents did not approve, I pushed forward and changed my major. This postponed my graduation date, but I continued. Being in Rosen College made me feel at home. This is where I knew I needed to be. I completed my classes, studied abroad, and eventually walked the stage and earned my degree.

After gaining experience interning in the field, I attempted to secure a management position, pursuing my dreams. Instead, I was met with rejection letters, and I realized I did not have the qualifications necessary. I tried to apply for different positions not in management, and I was rebuffed yet again. I could not understand where I missed the mark, even for entry-level positions. I attended Rosen’s career fair, yet I could not manage a career. This took a toll emotionally but allowed me to take a look at where I saw myself in the coming years.

After reflecting on the goals I had for myself, I pursued my second career choice as a teacher. I filled my time shadowing office staff and teachers in the field. This put a smile back on my face. Seeing teachers, not only teach but also build genuine connections with students made me realize this is where I belonged. After five years of attending classes and studying, after crying and stressing when I did not pass, I finally received my teaching certificate. I began teaching at Sebring High School in the math department. As I grow, my newfound goal is to now gain more experience and continue my education onward to become a Hospitality Professor. This is a culmination of both the pursuits that made me feel like I belonged. I want to be the mentor of students who need an extra push; those who have felt the same as I did. A Hospitality Professor will be a career in which I can succeed at, and I will enjoy the journey and embrace it.