Last year, the group had about 20 tables displaying the tablescapes designed and contributed by local interior designers and decorators, caterers, restaurants, florists, and more.
A tablescape consists of everything used for entertaining, including the centerpiece and decorations, flatware, place settings, glasses, linen, napkins, and place cards. Contributors select each of these elements in the color, pattern, and style that fits with the tablescape they designed. Guests can vote on their favorite displays while enjoying live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction.
Organizers say this come-and-go affair helps support TCTA’s early specialized training, which is designed to help prepare students to enter the workforce and get a jump start on their careers.
“This opportunity brings together the community with the school,” said Jami Pierson, a teacher at the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy in the Hospitality and Tourism program. “People don’t know what happens here, or even that we exist, so it’s great to have the chance to show that to those in our community.”
The event is put on almost completely by students, with a senior student in the program taking Tuscaloosa Tablescapes on as a project.
“This student is in charge of flyers, tickets, organizing the entire event. Set up is done by students in the hospitality and tourism program, as well as clean up,” said Pierson, who works closely with the student to bring the event to fruition. “The culinary arts students come up with the menu, take care of the shopping, preparation, to showcase some of what they’ve been doing. Most of our silent auction items have come from calls made by students to get these provided.”
Even the live music is performed by students from the Alberta School of Fine Arts in a partnership for the affair.
The students use this as real-life experience in preparation for careers in their respective programs.
“Hospitality and Tourism is one of the top industries in the state of Alabama, and one of the top industries nationwide,” Pierson said. “There are plenty of job opportunities, and these are careers that value work experience, so we help make management opportunities open up sooner for our students.”
In addition to work experience, the program offers certifications for students that they may need in these positions, at no cost to them.
Students who are interested in careers supported by the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy should meet with their guidance counselor for career assessment to determine if the school is a good fit for them. The school is open to students in grades 9 through 12. It is a part of the Tuscaloosa City School System, but spots are available for students in Tuscaloosa County schools. It is not a separate school, but rather offers coursework in conjunction with time and courses at the student’s principal school.
IF YOU GO:
Nov. 8, 6 to 8 p.m. (silent auction ends at 7:30 p.m.)
Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy (2800 Martin Luther King Junior Blvd.)
Tickets ($10) can be purchased at Tuscaloosatablescapes.eventbrite.com, at the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy, or at Hudson Poole Fine Jewelers