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Meeting House restaurant announces new scholarship program for Princeton High School seniors

Meeting House team
(l-r) Meeting House General Manager Dago Villanueva, owners Amanda Maher and Amar Gautam, and chef Fito Belteton. Photo courtesy of The Meeting House.

The Meeting House restaurant on Witherspoon Street in Princeton has launched a new program for high school seniors called the Hospitality Internship and Scholarship Program.

Two seniors at Princeton High School will be awarded scholarships of $2,500 each after completing a 200-hour paid internships at restaurant.

The Meeting House opened at 277 Witherspoon Street in late November of 2019, just a few months before the pandemic. Amar Gautam, who owns the restaurant with his wife Amanda Maher, said the restaurant became very rooted in its neighborhood during that difficult time. The couple got to know many people in the community very quickly, and worked with local orgnaizations like Share My Meals and the Princeton Nursery School to provide food to people in need in the local community during the pandemic. The restaurant never closed or laid off anyone from its management team.

“We survived the pandemic and we are finally in a spot where the restaurant is thriving. Most of that is due to the community we are opeating in,” Gautam said. “Our goal is to give back and work with the community.”

The idea for the scholarship came from the couple’s experience with two Princeton High School students who worked at The Meeting House last year.

“Over the months, they stuck to it and ended up being a vital part of our restaurant. They were just great,” Gautam said. “One started a GoFundMe for college. A lot of kids are super smart and talented but don’t have the same resources as others. These two seniors were both trying to figure out how to pay for college. My wife is an academic and thought the scholarship would be a great way to give back to local kids.”

Gautam noted that the money doesn’t have to be used for college. The scholarship can be used to attend a vocational school or culinary school. Students must work a minimum of 200 hours at the restaurant over six to eight months, or less than 10 hours a week.

“Student will learn real life skills in a functional restaurant, serving the community,” Gautam said. “The experience is helpful for teaching a young person about serving other people.”

Scholarship details

Q. Who is eligible for the Meeting House hospitality internship & scholarship program? 

A.  Current students of Princeton High School in their senior year who are expected to graduate in the spring of 2024. 

Q What kinds of roles are available?

A: Possible Front of House roles include host, busser and food runner. Possible Back of House roles include food prep, line cook, and garde manger (salad station).

Q: How much do I work & will I get paid?

A: We will offer a flexible schedule but will require that interns work a minimum of 200 hours between Oct. 30, 2023 and June 30, 2024 in order to qualify for the scholarship. Both interns will be paid $15 per hour.  

Q: What is the Meeting House Scholarship?

A: Upon completion of the internship program, each student will each receive a $2,500 scholarship.

Q: What education programs can the scholarship funds be used for? 

A:  Awards can be applied in any area of study at any accredited institution of your choice, including two or four-year colleges and universities, online programs, or vocational-technical schools. The funds are to be used to pay for course work only.  (e.g., not for housing, books, etc.)

Q: What year can the scholarship money be used for? I graduate in 2024.

A: Scholarship funds will be available in the summer of 2024 and payments will be paid directly to the institutions.

Application information

Q: When does the application open?

A: The application is open from 8 a.m. Sept. 11 to 5 p.m. Sept. 29.

Q: When will recipients be notified?

A: Recipients will be announced on or about Oct. 13.

Q: Does it cost money to apply?

A: No, applications are free.

Q: How do I apply?

A:  All applicants must submit a one-page letter expressing why they believe they are a strong candidate for the internship & scholarship program by Sept. 29. To apply, please send your letter to scholarship@mhprinceton.com