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Sylvester Taylor "Invictus" Hospitality Scholarship

Funded by
1st winner$1,500
2nd winner$500
Application Deadline
Apr 24, 2024
Winners Announced
May 24, 2024
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Career Aspiration:
Hospitality Industry/ Food Service
Education level:
High school seniors, Undergraduates, Trade School, Graduates

Among the diverse career opportunities available to students, hospitality is among the most fulfilling. Those in this career field participate in a welcoming workplace environment to provide exemplary service and nurture a positive experience for those around them.

Sylvester Taylor has over 40 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry, with 28 of those years spent at Walt Disney World Resort in Hospitality. His most rewarding roles were Certified Meeting Planner and Wine Sommelier in Convention Services.

He believed in celebrating outstanding service as he was awarded Disney's Top Casting Scout for three consecutive years. Fostering authenticity and friendliness throughout his career was exceptionally important to him. His talents did not go unrecognized, as he has left an impact that others will feel for years to come.

"Invictus," the name of Sylvester's favorite poem, encouraged others to shape their future despite the odds that might discourage them. To honor his legacy, The Sylvester Taylor "Invictus" Hospitality Scholarship seeks to reward a student pursuing a career in the hospitality and food service industry.

All High School Seniors, Undergraduate, Trade School, and Graduate school students are eligible to apply for this scholarship. To apply, tell us a bit about yourself and how this scholarship will help you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Boldest Profile
Published January 20, 2024
Essay Topic

How do you envision using your passion for hospitality to make a positive impact in the world?

300–500 words

Winners and Finalists

May 2024

Taylor Rubin
Annabel Chipeperekwa
Lily Miller
Makayla Hardin
Angel Coxic Aguilar
Isabella Ryan
Kaci Crowley
Joshua Thornton
Stacie Martinez
Ava Remesch
Ellen Dietrich
Faria Alam
MiCayla Brown
Mac Murray
Kara Newman
Sara Crisafulli
Skye Richardson
Takeima Hawkins
william jepson
Caroline Wilkins
Logan Atkinson
Sebastian Lopez
Alice LaBan
Fama Saidy

May 2023

Winning Applications

Nicole Kaufeldt
The University of AlabamaTUSCALOOSA, AL
The hospitality industry is one of the few fields in the world whose product about is a feeling or an experience rather than a physical entity. Yes, the industry has tangible items like hotel rooms, food and beverage, and traveling, but our job as providers of this industry is to create an unforgettable experience for our customers and make them feel like they have a home away from home. I have traveled to many places around the world and had the amazing opportunity to experience so many different types of hospitality and cultures. These travels have allowed me to take bits and pieces of the hospitality qualities I enjoyed and implement them into my work ethic and values. One of the main reasons I became so passionate about the hospitality industry was due to the way those hospitality establishments made me feel during and after my time there. I have rarely had a poor experience at a hospitality establishment, and when I did, it was usually due to an issue that I was able to identify and be sympathetic to. The staff at these establishments always made me feel so welcome and were the pinnacle of great customer service. The feeling I felt at these establishments made me want to pursue a career in this field so I could give that same feeling to others. While I doubt I can impact the entire world, I am confident that I can impact the customers who walk through the doors of whichever property I work at in the future. I think many people underestimate the power of kindness and the act of making someone feel welcome. You never know what a person is going through or what is happening in their life, and these small gestures can make the biggest difference. By using my experience and passion, I will strive to make every customer I interact with feel welcome and do everything in my power to make their experience not just a night in a hotel but a memory they will cherish forever.
Temya Davis
Livingstone CollegeCleveland, OH
Growing up in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio was tough. I was surrounded by violence my entire life and watched as it took a toll on many of my past friends as they lost focus on their passions. My mother did her best to take care of me and my two sisters by working continuously all day every day. Once I was old enough to be left alone at home, I began to provide for me and my younger sister. My mother wasn’t getting any help and with her working constantly, I had no one in my ear motivating me to do the best I can. I believe that every child needs to hear that. I found my own motivation in life by my God-given gifts. Safe to assume that it all began with being home alone while my mother worked. Being left alone meant I had to learn how to cook so I taught myself. As the years went by, my cooking skills improved tremendously and so well that I found interest in starting my own small baking business. By the time I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to continue my education in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. I will be the first person in my family to graduate college and to open my very own restaurant. However, sometimes I feel unmotivated with the lack of financial aid that I receive. I put my dreams on hold each morning wondering if I’ll even reach them if I can barely afford the education that is required. Is this the feeling my childhood friends felt when they decided that being in the streets was the better option? This self-inflicted fear makes me question my path towards success. This scholarship will help me cover the financial aid balance that has been draining my family’s pockets throughout the past year. With the help of this scholarship I can feel more confident in marking my way towards graduation. I have completed countless hours of community service, helping others not only through my co-educational fraternity (Phi Beta Lambda Business Fraternity INC.) but throughout campus. The poem “Invictus” is a poem that members of my fraternity have recited multiple times. The poem reminds me that no matter how hard things become in life, my fate and future is in my control.
Ashley Champagne
University of Central FloridaWinter Garden, FL
From a young age, I’ve been exposed to hospitable behavior. My parents helped me adapt to a new country when they adopted me at two years old, and have ingrained morals to treat everyone with kindness. It’s the least I can do to pursue a degree in hospitality management and excel, so I can show my appreciation for all they have done for me. Yet, the cost of college has only increased and with my parents being in their sixties and ready to retire, we're no longer in the financial capacity to afford college. Having the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship, it’ll help fund my housing and textbook costs. This aid will ensure that I’m close to the heart of Orlando where the opportunities for this field are endless. My interest in the hospitality field sparked early on. Meeting Cinderella for the first time when I was four years old was an awestruck moment. I’ll never forget the blue, sparkly hue of her dress or how her shoes and necklace glimmered! Not to mention that her bun was meticulously styled on her head, along with perfectly curled tendrils framing her face. When it was my turn to meet her, she immediately complimented the dress I was wearing, as I was wearing an identical blue, sparkly dress with my hair recently done at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The experience was just magical and is most definitely one of the reasons my parents chose to be returning guests at the Disney World theme parks and hotels. Realizing she was actually a Disney cast member who made my dreams come true stemmed an interest in finding a career where I could do that. After doing some research on the hospitality industry, I immediately knew that was the career for me! I have always been a xenophile and have loved helping people around me, so I knew a career catered towards making unforgettable memories for those on vacation would be right up my alley. My ability to empathize with others and negotiate issues will be beneficial when handling unsatisfied guests. Furthermore, understanding the mechanics of consumerism will enable me to strategically implement models that will exceed a customer’s expectations. There’s a lot of knowledge that goes along with this field and I’m ready to expand and strengthen the skills I already possess. This exposure to all the aspects that make up the hospitality industry led me to take on a job at the Signia by Hilton during my junior year. Getting to interact with guests and seeing so many smiles cemented that I wanted to major in lodging management. Traveling the world excites me and I want to be involved in the innovative community that shapes how we wander! My aspiration of being the general manager of a reputable hotel, allows me to help reduce the amount of sex trafficking that goes on in the hotel scene. Most importantly, I can make every guest’s experience magical!
Julissa Fryer
Florida International UniversityNorth Miami Beach, FL
My name is Julissa Fryer, I am currently a senior a Florida International University. My major is Hospitality Event Management and my career goal is to start my own business as an event planner/manager. Ever since the beginning of high school I’ve known that I like different types of social events, so when I started to volunteer and get the experience I knew this is what I was meant to do. My entire high school years up until now I’ve been perfecting my skills in decorating, planning, and leading. In high school I was in a few programs that helped me get on track with my career choice and made me who I am today. One of them was the hospitality magnet program. Being in that program helped me learn about hospitality in its entirety. I learned the different aspects, traits and skills you need to have while in this industry. The second program was a mentoring program for young ladies called K.I.C.S, which is an acronym for “Keeping it Classy Sisterhood”. In this program is where I learned a lot about the powers that us women bring to the world. I found my Independence, I became more confident in who I am, I was also reminded of my worth daily. Where I first learned about my worth was a ministry in my church called “ Worth the Wait”, which was also another girl empowerment group that taught us our worth from a spiritual standpoint but we didn’t only learn the obvious things to wait for, we learned about things that deserve our worth in this world. I believe that I am worth the school I attend, I am worth the scholarships to help me fund this school plus the experiences that it brings me and I am worth the business that I aspire to have, but I’m not just worth it someday I am worth it today. This Scholarships will help me reach my goal of being the best event planner I can be without any limitations. I will be able to get the resources that I need and I can put all my focus into school. I am willing to go however far it takes to manifest my dreams and I will work diligently day in and day out. I owe it to myself, I owe it to my family, and I also owe it to people watching me hoping I succeed.
Landen Engler
Olympia High SchoolWindermere, FL
Tourism is the lifeblood of Orlando, Florida, and when you work in this industry your job is to not only assist guests but to help them make memories. I am a kid that grew up right in the center of the craziness that is Orlando. Growing up I experienced all of the theme parks and attractions that we have to offer. I not only was able to experience them, but I was also able to learn about them and how they operate. My whole family works in and around the theme park industry. It is actually where my parents met. When working in the hospitality industry it's about a whole lot more than understanding how to run a ride. it's about understanding what these trips that I got to take every day, meant to the families that came from around the country. That couldn't just drive to these places after school. This is why I knew I always wanted to work in this industry. In 2021 I got the chance. I was hired at Universal Orlando Resort as a Sales Associate. I have now almost been working there 2 years and have had countless guest experiences, but one, in particular, is my most memorable. I was at the registers one day ringing out guests and this couple walks up to my register to be checked out. I begin ringing them out and my first question is always "How was your guy's day today?". The majority of the time you get "good" and sometimes you get the occasional "bad". This happened to be one of those times. My philosophy is if I can fix it, I want to fix it. so my question after this response was "Why?". The guests weren't too keen on telling me, but I could tell it was something bad, so although I had no clue why they had a bad day, I was gonna fix it. So, I asked if there was anything I could do to help make it better and the Husband explained that they were having to cut their trip short and the only thing they wanted to do was to eat at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. At this point, I was dedicated to getting them a reservation. So, I quickly picked up the phone, called Guest Services and worked with my fellow Team Members to make this happen for the guests. It was the least I could do after their bad day. After I got the reservation confirmed I walked back to the guests and told them they were all set and the woman broke down into tears. Turns out her dog died suddenly that day and they were flying home to deal with it. She was devasted, but my kind act made their last night in Orlando a memory for them to have forever. This Scholarship money would help me get my degree so that I can help make memories like this for many more guests to come.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Apr 24, 2024. Winners will be announced on May 24, 2024.

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