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You are here: Home Section Table Shout it Out Seniors Explore the Working World
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Seniors Explore the Working World

Senior Options 1With college decisions behind them, SHS Seniors are in the home stretch. How can the school avoid senior slump and keep these students engaged until graduation? Senior options internships allow students seven weeks to intern with various businesses or companies instead of the traditional school day. Internships range from work in bakeries, to automobile shops, and even train to be an EMT.

We spoke to some seniors to see how they are spending their time.

A popular choice among students is to return to their elementary schools, as student teachers rather than students. Senior Anna DeNelsky is working at Solomon Schecter with her former kindergarten teacher. “I have had a really fun time working in my kindergarten class. All the kids are super cute and I loved getting to know them and their unique personalities so far. I usually help them with worksheets and assist the teachers with organizing work. I also play with them at recess and just help them out in general,” comment Anna.

The senior options program is not only designed to keep seniors occupied but to give them insight into potential careers. “I definitely have gained a new appreciation for kindergarten teachers. All the kids have different learning styles and levels and some have a harder time focusing than others… The teachers work really hard and play an important role in shaping the kids interactions with the other kids and try to teach them right from wrong along with academics.”

Senior Options 4Varun Valada repairing a carTwo seniors have taken the unique opportunity to learn how to fix and maintain cars at an auto shop. Seniors Varun Valada and Jake Guastafeste are working at Lenny’s Auto Clinic at the intersection of Brooke and Summerfield Streets in Eastchester. Under the apprenticeship of owner Lenny D and the other repairman, Varun and Jake have learned how to change the oil in a car, remove a wheel, rotate the tires, change the breaks, and assist the repairman in other ways. Additionally, the auto clinic doubles as a full service Sunoco gas station, so Varun and Jake fill up the gas for and process the payment of patrons who need gas. “It’s really allowed me to expand by boundaries. I’m learning practical skills in a new environment that could become useful down the road” said Varun. “It’s been a lot of fun and everyone here is extremely helpful” said Jake.

Another group of students are involved with the Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps EMT training program. The goal is to become a certified EMT. One senior, Anna Distler, participating in the program comments “Each day, the class learns a new set of skills that will help us as we train to be EMTs. Although it is a lot of work and studying, I love the fact that I’m learning about stuff that I am truly interested it. It’s just two weeks in and we have already covered about 20 chapters of our textbook. Despite moving at such a fast pace, I still feel like I 100% understand everything that I’ve learned.” This opportunity definitely teaches students important life skills. She adds, “The class has been a lot of fun so far and I’m so glad I chose it for senior options. I can’t wait for the next few weeks to come and I’m so thankful for this experience”

Senior Options 2Jack Callahan and Andrew Gindi showing off fragrance primer at Mothers Day EventEight seniors are assisting local business owner, Abby Wallach who runs the fragrance company, Scentivent Technologies. The students reaching out to beauty bloggers and run the company’s social media accounts to get the word out about their product. The interns have also learned about market research by going to different cosmetic stores and department stores to research what customers want. The team of interns also organized a Mother's Day event, where people could come in with their mothers and try out the products, which was a big success.

senior options 3Katie Iver and Alex Rossano at Organic PharmerOther students have chosen to work in bakeries and local restaurants. Organic Pharmer, a purveyor of healthy foods and juices in Scarsdale Village employs three interns. Seniors Katie Iver, Alex Rossano, and Amanda Girardi work the register, make smoothies and advise customers on what to order based on what they are feeling.

While some stay local, others commute to the city daily for their internships. Senior Alex Goldman is interning at the Theater Center in Times Square, “It’s difficult at times and makes me have a lot of respect for my dad, who commutes to his job everyday,” said Alex. She was even stranded in Mount Vernon earlier this week after trains stopped due to severe thunder storms. However, she has learned a lot from her internship, “I’ve had the opportunity to connect with different people…. It’s unlike any experience I’ve ever had before,” she added.

Throughout this program, students have teacher mentors who not only make sure their students are working the correct amount of hours, but also helping them to reflect on the experience. “I think senior options is going very well so far. Students are getting out of the high school and engaging in work they wouldn't otherwise be participating in,” said economics teacher and mentor Jonathan Pai.

Following the program, seniors prepare twenty minute presentations to give to their teachers, mentors, parents and sometimes even the business owners who managed them. It can be a revealing process both for the kids and the sponsors as the student cast a fresh light on the businesses they serve.

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