Internships: Schooling That Pays Off


Salah Ali, Staff Writer

Ready for graduation?

As seniors ready to graduate, many already have prospects on which career they want to pursue. To assist in this, Elkhart High School has made it a goal to aid these students in their goals. The name of this internship program is called the Career Exploration Internship, and it is run by Mr. Bruce Baer, Mr. Jeff Miller, and Mrs. Lauren Schmidt, who stepped in after the retirement of Mrs. Patti Pletcher and Mr. Rod Donigan.

In this program, it is not just a list of jobs to choose from. “Students apply, complete a resume, are interviewed, and matched up with local businesses based on the information collected,” Mr. Baer states, to clear up any misconceptions. “Many students have placements picked out ahead of time,” he goes on to state. “This is very helpful and usually leads to a very positive experience for the students, because they already have a relationship created.” Some think that this program is just a way for students to get out of class, and although this is true for some, Mr. Baer clears this confusion, as well, by stating, “Several currently hold jobs in the community and have the freedom in their schedule because they took care of business already in the classroom.” On top of that, “those students are earning one credit, and a group of students earning three credits, learning a profession in areas such as accounting, ver tech, eye vision, and human resources.” These students aren’t just leaving school for no reason; these students are also “completing some coursework and learning soft business skills to aid them in the real world.”

Additionally, there are many students who are already enrolled in such internships. Anna Maskill, Makenna Smith, and Katie Aparicio–all seniors–are such students who have benefitted from the program. Maskill and Aparicio miss out on the first half of the school day in order to work for their internships, much like those in Career Center, in a sense. Maskill, who interns at Noah’s Landing and hopes to work someday in the veterinary field, had some positive insights of her experience, saying, “This internship has helped me learn what it was like to work in a professional setting, and I have learned many valuable lessons by being there.” Furthermore, Maskill plans on continuing work at Noah’s Landing even after graduation this year.

It’s not just Maskill who feels this way; Aparicio, with the hopes of becoming a nurse and later a nurse practitioner, also shared her optimistic experience, as well, exclaiming, “While being able to intern at the clinic for about a year now, I have learned a lot. The internship at Boling Vision Center has helped me see that I have an interest in working with patients, and I enjoy that aspect of the job.” Adding, Aparicio states, “My internship has also shown me what a great team can show one another, by learning something new everyday and helping each other out.” Something to note is that while interning at Boling Vision, Aparicio works as a technician, helping patients fill out their paperwork, and gathering all the information necessary for the doctors. 

Likewise, Makenna Smith has had a positive experience in the program. She currently interns at Lake City Bank with the hopes of becoming a pharmacist one day. Although her career pathway and her internship don’t necessarily match up, Smith states this: “It has still taught me a lot about finance, customer service, and money management in general. It is an amazing opportunity to gain work experience and will be a good chance for me to continue working through college.” Moreover, Smith previously worked and trained over the summer at other Lake City Bank branches until school opened up, when she began working at its location Student Center.

What if the career that a person is interested in doesn’t have an internship? Some internships require that the student be 18;  therefore, they might not get placed exactly where they want, but this program still aims to get all students as close as possible to an internship of their choice. Mr. Baer’s example: “A placement at a vets office or mental/physical therapy is quite difficult, unless the student knows someone and has some sort of a connection. So,” he continues, “we would look at something similar, like a grooming business, so the intern is getting experience working with animals, animal care, and maintenance. We would look at something similar, like a grooming business. That way, the intern is still getting experience working with animals, animal care and maintenance.”