Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Broward Chapter Awards Local Hospitality Scholarships, Connects Students with Top Broward Employers

FORT LAUDERDALE – The Broward Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association recently held the Excellence in Education Breakfast Awards at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale West Hotel to celebrate education in hospitality with scholarship and teacher awards, while honoring the hospitality community. Students, teachers, business leaders, and community partners came together to recognize and celebrate the future generation of hospitality leaders in Broward County. The event also served as a connector between the students and top employers in Broward County, including JetBlue, Seminole Hard Rock and many other local hotels and restaurants. At the event, FRLA awarded $2,000 in scholarships to each winning student and $500 to each winning teacher. The Teachers of the Year were also surprised with roundtrip airline tickets from JetBlue.

For over a decade, annual fundraisers have been instrumental in education, providing scholarships, curriculum, textbooks, and supplies in support of Broward students in ProStart Culinary and the Hospitality & Tourism Management Programs. This year, the event was expanded to include college culinary and hospitality students to help promote students joining the growing hospitality industry in Broward County.


“FRLA’s Broward Chapter is honored to protect, educate, and promote our local and statewide hospitality industry,” said Rozeta Mahboubi, FRLA Broward Regional Director. “Thanks to our dedicated Board of Directors, Committee members, and loyal sponsors, we have been able to foster education in hospitality through this wonderful event.  I truly believe our scholarships, mentorship, and internship programs have cultivated many inspiring new talents to step into industry positions with greater confidence. We are so proud of these outstanding award winners!”


Students of the Year

Mariah Almodovar – ProStart / HTMP

Valentina Chavez – ProStart

Lanayah M. Nesmith – ProStart / HTMP


 College Students of the Year

Carla Ottley-Cousin – Broward College, Culinary Management

Mackenzie Chin – Broward College, Hospitality Mgmt. & Tourism

Larius Floyd – Broward Hospitality Mgmt. & Tourism


HTMP Teachers of the Year

Mitchell Albert, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Gerson Puig, Fort Lauderdale High School


ProStart Teachers of the Year

Debra Sparacino, South Broward High School

John Hammett, Miramar High School



Commissioner Beam Furr, Broward County

Robert Bilak, JetBlue Travel Products

Sherria McMillan & Daniel Pagan, Seminole Hard Rock Support Services


About FRLA: The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s nearly $112 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.5 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of the membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected. The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through Safe Staff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.