Holliston High School’s internship program is an excellent way for outgoing students to get real-world job experience. Through the program, seniors who have earned the credits necessary to graduate can intern at local businesses or institutions for 6 and a half hours a week.
“I think it’s a very nice step outside of a typical school day where students can experience learning while at the same time contributing to the workplace. They get to blend what they’ve learned in the classroom with the outside world of work,” says Mrs. Sue Stone, a counselor at the school
Stone, who has been with the program for ten years and has the arduous task of meeting with every interested senior and pairing them with local businesses based on their interests, says that it benefits students by allowing them to try out a career before committing to it.
“By the time they’re seniors, students have been able to solidify where their skill set is, what kind of personality they have, and what kind of workplace they see themselves in. They get to take all of that, that incredible foundation of academics, and apply it in the real world.”
The program, which has doubled in size over the last six years, can place students in positions in a variety of fields in establishments all across MetroWest. This year 125 seniors, more than half of the class, have participated in the internship program.
One of those seniors is Andrew DesRochers, who interned at Color Inc. this past winter and has stayed on as a part time employee since then. Color Inc. is a chain of retail stores with national headquarters in Holliston.
“I definitely wanted to do an internship because I wanted to have this experience to show any future employer that I can go out, market a real company, and work in a real corporate environment like this,” says DesRochers. While working, his responsibilies include advertising for the company via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
“I really feel like doing this internship, for me, was way more informative than anything I could learn in a class… I was out there and I was doing it for a real company, with real customers, working in an actual office, and that’s way more of an experience than you could ever get in a classroom.”
When a student is assigned an internship, they are given a mentor, a professional in their field that guides them through the day-to-day activities of working in their establishment. One such mentor is Mrs. Kristin Foster at Placentino Elementary School.
Foster, a Unified Arts Specialist who teaches several first to fifth grade classes in both Science and Health, says that students who intern with her gain “greater understanding of child development; opportunities to develop relationships with students and teachers; to assist in student learning; and to learn from an experienced teacher how to give instructions and create a successful learning environment.”
Internships at the lower schools have been a good fit for Holliston High interns. They are close by, they understand the High School’s often confusing schedule, and the staff there are already trained to work with students and thus generally make good mentors.
Foster is pleased that her intern for this year, Kelsey Catanzaro, was able to get her internship prolonged until the end of the school year. “We both are very excited about this extended time to work together. My students will be too.”
Catanzaro, for her part, prefers the time she spends interning to more typical class time. “Although it’s the same amount of time as being in the classroom, it feels like I have so much more to do. I really utilize my time there and it’s time well spent.”
When working with Mrs. Foster, Catanzaro does everything from assisting individual students to helping substitutes with the curriculum to supervising the kids when they use lab equipment. Her interest in education began when she got a job at Holliston Community Children’s Center two years ago.
“I started working in the toddler room which I wasn’t exactly comfortable with, but I realized that education is what I wanted to do, perhaps not that age range, but more at the elementary level,” said Catanzaro.
Engineering, one of the most rapidly growing career areas in the country, is also represented in Holliston’s internship program. Senior James Lefebvre recently finished working at AgieChamilles, an international company based in Switzerland that makes high tech and high precision manufacturing equipment.
“I much prefer time interning because it’s more relevant to what my interests are and what I might be doing in the future. I actually feel like I learn more because I’m more interested in it and I pay closer attention,” says Lefebvre.
Lebfebvre, who’s always been interested in engineering, says that his internship was one of the best opportunities he’s ever had in high school and that what he’s learned about the realities of working in the field will help him move forward with his studies. “It will really benefit me to have this knowledge going into college,” he says.
When asked how he rates his experience interning, Lebfebvre doesn’t hesitate -- “10 out of 10, it’s been phenomenal!”