Getting involved in the community

Posted: December 11, 2019

Students keep busy with internships, jobs and volunteering

“You can’t put a price tag on [the value of internships] because you’re learning about responsibility,” said Principal Jason Wenschlag.

The difference between the three is shown by the distinctive values each has to offer. In the long run, the goal of acquiring a job is done by gaining enough experience through internships and volunteering. To participate in an internship, students-high school and college-must apply for the spot which they choose.

Over the past summer, senior Clara Stein volunteered at the University of Minnesota hospitals through a volunteer program. Stein was recommended to do this volunteer opportunity and went through a series of interviews to get selected. She worked six-hour shifts, morning and afternoon, that lasted three weeks, for a total of 30 hours.

At the hospital, she was able to be a clinic assistant in the waiting room for the pediatric ears, nose, throat clinic. She interacted with the kids in the waiting room while they waited for their appointments to begin. In the afternoons Stein was a guest services volunteer, leading people to where they needed to go throughout the hospital.

“I think being able to get some work experience while in high school is a good way to see what you’re actually interested in, the things that you like to do and what you wouldn’t want to do for a job,” said Stein.

Stein volunteered at the hospital because she is interested in the medical field and wanted to get some experience being in that type of environment.


Internships offer countless advantages, one of which is receiving hands-on training to give you experience that will prepare you for full-time employment. Another notable difference is that an internship is more focused on teaching a specific skill to enhance the person’s role at a specific company.

“You’re learning about areas of work in life that may or may not interest you in the future, how to respond to authority, then how to have a boss, how to work hard and how to manage other people,” said Wenschlag.

When spending up to $80,000 a year on a major, it is important to know that it is what you want to pursue. The importance of an internship is invaluable. The long term benefits of gained experience can help you determine what you want to do later in life and why.

Wenschlag thinks that high school internships are more of a shadow experience to oversee a professional in their field of study.

On the other hand, he sees a college internship as one which is designed to connect students with organizations where they could potentially work after school. Although some companies are selective on their interns, others are willing to hire high school students looking for an opportunity to get involved. A recent study by Millennial Branding and shows that an astonishing 77 percent of high school students are interested in volunteering to gain work experience compared to only 63 percent of college students.

“An internship, I would think, is specifically something that a college student would do typically because it’s going to be learning in the field in which you’re going to pursue, making contacts, getting skills, and if you do a good job, a lot of times the company you’re interning for may offer you a job when you’re done,” said vice-principal Mike DiNardo.


Before an internship, many students participate in volunteer opportunities including Feed My Starving Children, babysitting or Cultural Field Experience (CFE). Volunteering not only shows responsibility but allows students to give back to the community.

“Although volunteering might not lead to anything in the future, it is always a good opportunity to show responsibility,” said DiNardo.

By volunteering, high school students can boost their resume. Colleges look for well-balanced students who also participate in extracurricular activities, including volunteering. After many years of volunteering or having an internship comes a job. Similar to a paid internship, jobs are the way to make money, pay off debt and most importantly gain experience.


“I think students work jobs to have some responsibility, make some money as they can support themselves and have some independence. I think students do internships to learn about and explore different careers that people have,” said Wenschlag.

One thing that has been discussed among the board has been a possible week during January, similar to a J term or an intensive week, where instead of having classes students would be able to go work at an internship for a full week.

“I think things like that are important for students, and if we can provide that as a school,” said Wenschlag, “I don’t know exactly what that would look like.”
Although this plan has not been proposed yet it is still in the planning stage for future years. In the meantime, alumni relations director Nicole Sheldon connects with alumni which allows students to reach out to them.

“She connects with alumni finding people who are in those avenues and could then match our students who have some alumni,” said DiNardo.

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