Isabella Walter, a senior at Grand County High School (GCHS), goes to class everyday like all her fellow seniors. Walter, however, has what may be a greater responsibility than any other high school student in Moab.
At 17 years old, Isabella is the manager of the Moab Tourism Center. During the school year she works a minimum of four hours a day, and in the summer works 8-10 hour days. She is able to accomplish this while being a full-time student at GCHS; she has a full schedule and is currently enrolled in classes like AP Literature and online college courses with Utah State University.
“I don’t want to say that what I am doing is difficult or too hard for me in any sense,” Isabella said. “I am completely capable of doing everything I need to do at both school and my job. I just have to take it really seriously.”
The responsibilities Walter has are quite simple to her, she said, and she motivates herself in two ways. First, she uses the job as a way to fundraise for college. Second, if she falls behind on any of her duties, she believes she might disturb the source of income for the 13-19 employees she is in charge of.
“I definitely have to be on top of everything when I am working,” Isabella said. “I am young, so I don’t want the employees to ever think I am slacking off or not capable.”
Shon Walter, her father and the owner of the Moab Tourism Center, believes she is capable for the job, saying, “That is exactly why I chose her to run [the] business.”
“I’ve been working for my father for years,” Isabella said. “During last year though he began to have me do some of the managerial tasks. Eventually he just had me take over the entire position.”
For the past year Walter has been manager her tasks have included leading personnel, taking reservations for tours and communicating with other businesses about why they should advertise the center to their customers.
Walter said her job isn’t just all work for her, though. She said she enjoys working with tourists with diverse backgrounds.
“I love helping people make their vacation as memorable as possible,” Isabella said. “I’m also a pretty sociable person, so I also just enjoy learning about the people I’m helping out. They are from literally everywhere around the world.”
Walter said she plans to utilize her job as manager as a way to compete for college scholarships. She was picked by the high school to represent Grand County in the business and marketing category in the Sterling Scholar scholarship competition.
“Sterling Scholar is basically how I plan to pay for most of my college tuition if I win,” Isabella said.
In March, Walter will submit her portfolio to be reviewed by a group of select judges to see if she will be picked over other contestants from other schools.
“I am working with the Sterling Scholar advisor and AP Literature teacher Alanna Simmons-Cameron to build my portfolio later this year,” Isabella said. “Most of my portfolio will rest on my job. I think I have a good chance of getting the scholarship. It really depends on the competition in the end though.”
Simmons-Cameron said she thinks Walter will go far in life and is using her experience at the tourism center to build a broad base of knowledge.
“There are limited opportunities for ambitious youth in our small town, but they are there, and Isabella grasps each and every one,” Simmons-Cameron said. “She applies herself to her future success, but she does so by positively engaging in pretty much every moment of her finite day. She is an exemplar student who, I have faith, will move mountains before she gasps her last breath.”
If Walter wins the scholarship she plans on attending the University of Utah, which she applied to earlier this month.
“I plan to major in business,” Walter said. “I eventually want to open my own business, but I am not sure what kind yet. I am confident my work ethic will help me get to that point.”
Walter will graduate in May 2018.