As we say hello to 2022, we are proud to share with you the incredible partners and educators who made this past fall one to remember for our American Experience Foundation students.

This past year was full of pandemic challenges for students, educators and the hospitality and tourism industry. But that did not stop AEF or the young people we serve. Because of the generosity of people like you, we were able to positively impact the lives of 176 students in Washington, DC in 2021. The students were able to build their confidence and skills, connect with over 100 professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and leaders, and stay focused on their career and college paths. Thank you!

In this edition of the AEF Newsletter, you’ll find more of what we did to close out our fantastic 2021.

Contact Lisa Waldschmitt, Senior Foundation Manager to discuss how you can help create opportunities for students in 2022. 

Student and staff in lobby of the Willard in front of a Christmas tree

2021 Academies of Culinary Arts Gingerbread Displays Contest

The 2021 Willard InterContinental holiday display featured creative DC-themed locations brought to life in gingerbread. Students at the Academies of Culinary Arts at Ballou and Roosevelt High Schools were behind the projects. On Dec. 3, the student teams went head-to-head for bragging rights and a generous donation from the historic landmark hotel to the winning Academy’s kitchen.

Roosevelt High School and the Petworth neighborhood made of gingerbread

Congrats to Roosevelt High School for winning the judged competition on Dec. 3

The Big Chair in Anacostia made of gingerbread

Congrats to Ballou High School for winning the People's Choice competition

Thank you to our judges: Chef Rochelle Cooper, The Duck & The Peach; Michael McCarthy, DC Modern Luxury; Chef Danny Lledó, Xiquet; Chef Luca Marchis, Willard InterContinental

Thank you to our masters of ceremonies: Leslie Sanchez, CBS News; Ernie Arias, Willard InterContinental

Watch More
Students and staff on rooftop of Canopy by Hilton the Wharf at Whiskey Charlie

Concord Share Day

Throughout the month of November, the Concord Hospitality teams at the Canopy by Hilton Washington DC the Wharf and Hyatt House Washington DC the Wharf welcomed AEF and dozens of Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and Culinary Arts students for Concord Share Day. Students were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the twin hotels by senior staff members, enjoyed lunch and received a special treat at the award-winning rooftop restaurant, Whiskey Charlie.

Students at Ben's Chili bowl speaking with NASA astronaut

Crew-1 Meets Students from Academies of Engineering

On Nov. 18, 20 students from six of DC’s Academies of Engineering got the experience of a lifetime: sitting down with four NASA astronauts, fresh from their return from the International Space Station! The Crew-1 astronauts had lunch with the students who are studying aerospace engineering. Key members of two Academies of Mass Media shot photos of the event and interviewed the astronauts for their school newspapers and social media.

A special thank you goes to NASA, LINK Strategic Partners, the Ali family, Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation for hosting an unforgettable lunch.

See More

This fall, AEF welcomed Christen Miller to the team as the new Partnerships & Alliances Coordinator.

Diamond Myles joins AEF as an Urban Alliance intern this spring and summer. She is a senior at Idea Public Charter School.

AEF Annual Review cover - Cover image is students in front of Ben's Chili Bowl

Our 1st Annual AEF Experience DC Holiday Raffle was one for the books! 

Because of your generous donations through our raffle, we were able to raise funds to benefit AEF students on the path to career and college readiness. Thank you to our prize partners for creating memorable experiences for family, friends and loved ones this holiday.

AEF Annual Review cover - Cover image is students in front of Ben's Chili Bowl

In Case You Missed It: Check out our 2021 Annual Review

Thank you for an incredible year of learning, connections and special virtual opportunities. 

Read More