With 254 businesses and 94% of the senior class participating, the New Canaan High School Senior Internship Program has continued success in its eighth year running.
On May 22nd, 284 seniors headed out to local businesses and organizations to pursue an internship for their last four weeks of high school. With jobs ranging from assisting an elementary school class, to working with a local politician, the program has had a remarkable growth in popularity since its creation. In its first year only 4% of the senior class chose to participate, contrasting with its current popularity. The program has become a staple to the high school curriculum with students looking forward to this opportunity long before the end of senior year.
Much of the success stems from Susan Carroll, a founder of the program, as well as Heather Bianco, coordinator of the Senior Internship Program. Both work hard to acquire more internships sights and facilitate students’ preparation for future careers. “I think this is a fantastic learning opportunity for students to get a real world work experience. For many students this helps them decide on a career path,” says Heather Bianco. She adds that “students bring a fresh perspective” to small businesses and organizations that need help with marketing and social media. Carroll adds that “having to hone a resume, creating a professional LinkedIn account and being coached on employee related subjects such as dressing properly, understanding confidentiality at the workplace, use of technology and sexual harassment make SIPs training valuable.”
The growth of the internship program is what inspired the Jane Beiles Photography interns to capture the positive impact this program has on students and the community.
At Oxygen Fitness, Lauren Sturm and Chloe McAuliffe say they are gaining a wide range of skills and experiences while taking on their marketing positions. Chloe said, “I got to take a workout class during my internship and report back about what I liked and didn’t like.” It's a win-win situation where the business can get direct feedback to improve their services and interns can contribute to the company's success.
At East Elementary School, Caroline Sweeney works towards her dream job as an elementary school teacher by working with Mrs. Yardis’ kindergarten class. Caroline says she enjoys the experience and learning about what goes on in a classroom, now from a teacher’s perspective rather than a student's. Her biggest takeaway is learning to be flexible and ready to take on new challenges. She says “I have learned that things move fast and not everything may go as planned, but you just have to go with it!”
Cameron Blair is another elementary school intern who helps Mrs. Mulhern's 3rd grade class at South Elementary School. Coincidentally, her brother, Dane, is a student in the class. Cameron has a personal connection to South School being a former student and now helping out her brother. Cameron remembers how great her own experience was at South Elementary and now she has the opportunity to help current students enjoy being at South as much as she did.
Tim Scranton is taking his passion for the arts to an internship at the Carriage Barn Arts Center. He spends a lot of his time planning and setting up for shows like the most recent one, “Art In The Windows”.
Luke Stewart and James Hirai are using their passion for science and research at Earthplace, a nature discovery center in Westport. One of their assignments is to test water from around Fairfield County and count aquatic organisms present. James says the internship is "fulfilling because the lab we are working in is state certified meaning the results we find get reported to the state."
Michael Tuffy pursues a different type of science working in the political sciences with First Selectman Kevin Moynihan.
Josiah Jones also works at the New Canaan Town Hall pursuing his interest and intended major in civil engineering with the public works department. What Josiah likes best about the internship is "the different aspects of civil engineers like visiting worksites and interacting with coworkers."
Karlie Bucci and Zach Fishman work in the organic garden at Grace Farms, planting and harvesting delicious and sustainable produce. The harvested foods are used in the Commons at Grace Farms, as well as donated to Person-to-Person in Norwalk.
At the Jane Beiles Photography internship, Cali Brannan, Emma Barker, and Caroline Addeo work with Jane Beiles, Mark P. Finlay Interiors, and Greenspan Creative Marketing on a photo shoot at a Richard Meier home.
The program concludes on Wednesday, June 20th and New Canaan High School seniors will leave with a unique experience and four weeks well spent!
By: Caroline Addeo, Cali Brannan, and Emma Barker