Hospitality is both an elective subject and a way of life for Youstina Youssif.
The year 12 student at St Andrew's College, Marayong, has received the western Sydney regional VET in schools Student of the Year Award for her achievements in the classroom and workplace.
Youstina said she felt privileged to be chosen from a group of students who were all passionate about their courses.
She will open a cupcake shop and restaurant with her sister after completing a degree in business management and hospitality.
"I love serving people and because of our culture — we're Egyptian — being hospitable is in our nature.
"Cupcakes give joy to everyone.
"I don't think there's a big cupcake shop in western Sydney so we'd like to be the first."
Youstina said hospitality studies included food and beverage service, how to work well with colleagues and customers, run an environmentally sustainable enterprise and prepare food safely.
"You can apply hospitality to every aspect of life.
"Knowing how to talk to people effectively and reading their body language and being able to listen and acknowledge their problems are all valuable skills."
Youstina will graduate with a Certificate II in Hospitality along with her HSC.
Hospitality teacher Carmen Barbara said Youstina performed well in the VET Hospitality course and was first in her class.
Youstina will represent western Sydney for the state awards in July.