Hyatt Dulles general manager Jim Deuel saw his shadow last Friday morning, Feb. 1 that meant a dozen Herndon High School students would join him for the fourth annual Groundhog Job Shadow Day.
"I want to own a hotel," said senior Renee Anderson, 17, of Herndon, initially disappointed she was not assigned to work with Deuel. However after shadowing rooms executive Eddie Egerton, Anderson changed her tune. "This was more hands on than I thought. I like it, it's fun. I'm glad I got to shadow Eddie. I changed my mind. I like it here. I want to work here," she said.
The dozen Herndon High students who spent most of their school day at the Hyatt Dulles are students with an interest in the hospitality industry as a career. Some may go on to a four-year college; some may not, just as their adult counterparts explained during the day. Some rose through the ranks without college, most did go to college.
"This gives kids a real chance to have some insight. They see satisfied people who like what they're doing. This is an opportunity for kids who take initiative," said Herndon High teacher Steve Mullinnix who accompanied the students.
"For example, Basim [Naga] already works in the field. This is a chance to network," said Mullinnix.
"I'm helping prepare food for a reception for 200 people said Naga, 18, a senior from Herndon. Naga helped executive chef Willi Franz prepare antipasto trays with mozzarella in balsamic vinaigrette with an asparagus garnish.
"This is completely different from the Marriott," where Naga currently works. "It's a lot more friendly here. I expected an old boring guy to just follow around. When I met him, I knew it would be a good day," said Naga of Franz.
"I thought I'd get some student who had never been in a kitchen before, but this is working well," said Franz.
Out of the kitchen and into the front office was senior Nicole Diaz, 17, of Herndon who worked with Deuel. She helped him create the VIP discount card for Herndon High honor roll students — for discounts at the restaurant with their families.
"This is more hands on then I expected," said Diaz, an honor roll student and hostess at Ruby Tuesday in Sterling as she sat at Deuel's desk working at the computer. "I like to oversee and do things like this," she said.
Out at the front desk working with Egerton was senior Janet Rose, 17, of Herndon. Already accepted by Marymount College, Rose also agreed that the experience was more hands on then expected. "I didn't know how much goes into working for a hotel," she said.
Oriele Avalos, 18, a senior from Herndon, already knows she would like a career in either international relations or public relations. She was assigned to work with director of human resources Dede Rutherford.
"I always wanted to do engineering," said Avalos, fluent in Spanish and president of the school's Latinos Unidos organization — a group that has grown from 20 to 30 members from last school year to this year. "We coordinate things, do shows, plan events, and I like that. I like the relationships with people," said Avalos, who learned that part of Rutherford's job is to coordinate such events as the Groundhog Job Shadow Day.