Ds Scholarship

Scholarships add to Christmas cheer at tree lighting

GCU student Kylie Amber Boyer displays the David R. Landau Hospitality Scholarship Certificate, which is awarded during Tuesday night’s Christmas tree lighting at Canyon 49 Grill.

Rick Vasek’s story
Ralph Friso pictures
GCU News Desk

It wasn’t a big surprise when Kylie Amber Boyer I got emotional on Tuesday night.

I burst into tears when I learned that she had won the David R. Landau Hospitality Scholarship along with two Grand Canyon University students, Victoria Hang And Jeremiah Breden.

Dr. Jennifer Elfenbein, Head of Hospitality Management at Colangelo School of Business, announced that Boyer was one of the scholarship winners.

That matched her tears while writing the article that earned her a $1,000 prize.

And definitely follow her along with what she said Doctor. Jennifer Ivory, the Colangelo College of Business Hospitality Management Chair, on the first day of class:

“I’m Kylie, and I’ve been told I’m kind of loud.”

Now that you know her, Elfenbein fondly called her “The Firecracker.”

Next spring, “The Firecracker” will join Hang and Breeden in planning a dinner for hospitality students next spring. Elfenbein has no doubts that they will make noise.

“I think it’s great because they each have different talents and skills, so I think they will work well together,” she said.

The grant announcement was part of GCU’s fourth annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Canyon 49 Grill (see slideshow here). Families decorated cookies, kids young and old visited with Santa, and the hot chocolate with marshmallows was a treat even though the winter cold didn’t invade the bones as deeply as it had in years past.

Landau was a beloved CCOB coach who helped launch the hospitality program before his death in 2019. Only two scholarships were to be awarded, but the judges were so torn that they decided to make it a triple.

Boyer, who would have lighted the Christmas tree herself with her contagious attitude, hails from Kahului on the Hawaiian island of Maui, famous for its hospitality. She’ll fit right in there, assuming she’s following through with her career plan.

The little one isn’t quite sure what to do with Santa during the festivities.

“I want to go back there and educate and influence people in the hospitality business,” she said. “It’s a good career, especially back home. There are a lot of jobs, and it gives you experience, growth and a lot of knowledge.”

Her parents, both of whom work in the industry, showed her how it’s done, which is why she was so pissed off about her essay.

“I was really touched to come from an immigrant family — boy, I’m going to start crying,” she said, fighting back her tears again.

She is grateful to her parents, who moved to Hawaii from the Philippines and gave her the opportunity to continue her education.

She is grateful to her professors at the University of Hawaii Maui College, where she was awarded an associate’s degree.

She will never forget the way a high school teacher gave her opportunities to work in the shadows, go on trips to nearby islands, and work in resorts.

A GCU student showing off a decorated birthday cake.

I’ve done everything, from the cashier to the cooking to the prep to putting the food on the plates. But what drove it more than anything else was the way the industry ramped up during the pandemic by handing out free plates of food.

“It showed me a lot about passion,” she said.

The other two scholarship winners have great stories, too.

Hang, a junior student at GCU, came to the US from Vietnam and lived with families in Colorado and Michigan before a GCU Discover trip turned her into the glories of the West Phoenix campus.

Breden, a senior, recently won a $7,500 Doug Yonko Scholarship from the Arizona Hotel Foundation.

“They were all excellent,” Elfenbein said of their articles. “The selection committee listed the top three, and they all had the same three.”

Call Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].

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Related content:

GCU today: Christmas tree lighting event offers new hope

GCU today: Student turns hotel training into a personal project

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