Seniors carry the weight of internships

Seniors carry the weight of internships

When the clock struck 1 p.m. on May 15, Aaron Linker ’15 finished his high school career.  Initially, the idea of leaving high school for Linker was nerve-wracking.  “I’ll never have an experience like that in my life again,” Linker said. At the same time, however, Linker looked forward to leaving high school and embarking on the adventure ahead of him.  The first aspect of this adventure is his six-week internship at Coleytown Elementary School before graduation.

Although seniors choose or design their own internships, the workload of such internships is varied.  Like Linker, many students were able to find an internship that balanced a variety of activities with a moderate workload. For example, as Christopher Woods ’15 learned about the shipping industry at Heidmar, Inc., “my workload is as hard as I make it,” Woods said.

Others chose internships that, while not overburdening, are equal work to that of the notoriously rigorous first half of senior year. Alice von Staden ’15 said, “I’m definitely more tired at the end of the day, but I don’t have homework, so it balances out well.”

Some students also made a significant difference while on their internship.  For example, Sophie de Bruijn ’14, who worked at a trauma center in Johannesburg, South Africa, described how “the workload was different in that during my internship, I was doing work I really cared about and was very interested in, versus say, working on calculus, which was absolute torture,” de Bruijn said.

De Bruijn was one of the many students whose internship workloads was relatively high.  “I was working eight hour shifts…and that was difficult for a lot of reasons,” de Bruijn said.  “There were times when nothing would happen all day, and then there were times when it would be totally hectic nonstop.”

According to Principal John Dodig, the internship program was created in replication of internship programs at other high schools.  This program was an immediate success as in the first year of internships, about 50 seniors took part.

The program was developed in order to create a bond between the Westport community and its high school students, internship program director Lee Saveliff explained.  Soon, the internship program expanded beyond Westport borders as students, like de Bruijn, started interning in anywhere from neighboring cities to countries across the globe. “Our students have many talents and often have many connections to people around the globe,” Saveliff said.

Although the internship program may be a lot of work for some students, they are an appreciated part of the Staples community that, according to Dodig, “provides a great transition between the end of high school and the start of something new.”