Seniors prepare for career, life through internships

At Yutan High School, most students would be found learning in the classroom. With this year’s new internship class, however, the senior students can be found learning at businesses in Yutan and surrounding communities. The seniors enrolled in the new class get to go out and experience the real world through their internships. 

This year-long class is noticeably different between the first two semesters. In the first semester, the students learned in the classroom and completed short job shadows. They practiced life skills, like making commercials, writing emails and filling out job applications.

I’m kind of preparing them for life out with the internships and with the business and what’s required with that.

— Mike Davis

“I’m kind of preparing them for life out with the internships and with the business and what’s required with that,” said work-based learning coordinator Mike Davis.

Before sending the seniors out of the classroom, Davis wanted to make sure the students knew how to present themselves in a professional manner. 

“We just grow in that class,” said senior Jake Richmond. “We learned how to tie ties and weird stuff like that.”

Then, with the help of online resources, the students decided which jobs they were interested in. This would help the students decide where to intern during the second semester. 

“They’ve done strengths finders to look at how their strengths align with the career areas that they’re interested in,” said principal Brandy Thompson. 

With the students having ideas of their interests in mind, they used part of the first semester to job shadow a variety of businesses. 

“They get to go out and they do a few job shadows throughout the semester,” said Thompson, who thinks it is essential for students to explore a career path before graduation. 

Now, in the second semester, the students begin to go out and experience opportunities in the real world through internships. Some of the seniors, with varying career interests, took internships for special education, physical therapy, real estate, snow removal, entrepreneurship and welding.

I’ve actually figured out that I kind of like something like that in the finance department.

— Jake Richmond

“I’ve actually figured out that I kind of like something like that in the finance department,” said Richmond, who is interning at a Woodhouse car dealership. 

To Davis, trying out a job before college is very important for the students, so they get an idea of what they want to do before spending money in college to change classes. 

“When I was a kid, when school shopping with my mom, before she bought anything…you try it on,” said Davis. “We want to get you in situations where you’ve kind of ‘tried on’ to see if you like it.”

The seniors in internships leave after 5th period every day, and then they are gone until the end of the school day. Students involved in extracurricular activities have the chance to still come back and be active in a sport. On the other hand, students that aren’t in extracurricular activities can stay at the internship site until later in the day.

This new class has gained nothing but positive feedback from both students and other teachers. 

“Even though it is a new program, I’ve liked it so far,” Richmond said. 

Both Thompson and Davis agree, as the only negative they have noted in the program is the students not being able to work at some businesses because of COVID restrictions.

“COVID keeps a lot of business doors shut right now because of those types of policies and expectations,” said Thompson.

In the future, Thompson wants to add in a new class, Career Preparation, to help prepare students for Introduction to Internship and Internship. She also hopes for the internship classes to involve more than just seniors. 

“Eventually, I’d like to see Intro to Internship maybe even happen at the junior level,” Thompson said. 

Overall, Thompson and Davis just want more seniors to take the internship class in the future. 

“I’d like to have where the majority of the seniors leaving the building have a pretty clear idea of what it is they want to be when they grow up,” Davis said.