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Par Excellence Celebrates 30th Anniversary at Hilton College 11/13/2012

Student-run hospitality-staffing honors organization still going strong

HOUSTON, Nov. 13, 2012—Par Excellence, Hilton College’s student-run hospitality-staffing honors organization, will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a special dinner and graduation function for its newest members on Nov. 16, 2012. The current class of Par Ex trainees, called petites, has been planning the event—at which they will receive their tuxedo jackets with tails to become full-fledged members, or “penguins”—for months. Once they receive their tails, they’ll join the veteran members, staffing special events for a wide variety of clients around the Houston area. Since this year marks the 30th anniversary of the organization, the students are hoping to bring as many Par Ex alumni back as possible. “We want to show them that, after 30 years, we’re still a vibrant, successful business,” Sarah Robinson, current general manager of Par Ex, said. “Our excess revenue has enabled us to create a $30,000 scholarship endowment that benefits other Hilton College students.”Par Ex was founded in 1982 by Dr. Clinton L. Rappole, a former dean of the College and current professor emeritus. “In 1982, James Papadakis, owner of James Coney Island, contacted me about finding students to work the March of Dimes Silver Screen Gourmet Gala,” Rappole said. “Their event went off without a hitch, and many attendees praised the efficiency and professionalism of our students. It was immediately evident that the college needed to form a permanent, elite service team of students, and Par Excellence was born.”Rappole will be speaking at the graduation event. Par Ex members are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA and must be current Hilton College students. Each semester, after a rigorous application and interview process, a small team of petites is selected. They spend the rest of the semester training, learning everything there is to know about service.  They’ll put that knowledge to the test at the graduation function, where they’ll serve a menu they’ve created and execute the always-anticipated flambé demonstration as the grand finale. The 30th anniversary celebration will be held from 6-10 p.m. in the Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom at the Hilton University of Houston. Tickets will be $15 at the door. For more information, contact Par Ex at

Taylor Wiley