THS seniors gain experience from new program
Seniors are getting a look into the future of their careers through a new school program.
Tonganoxie High School this year has added something new to the curriculum besides the basic classes for seniors. This year, the school participated in the Executive High School Internship Program.
Eight interns are participating at various businesses, Scott Breuer, Breuer Well Drilling and Construction with Dennis Breuer; Dave Gepner, KCK Community College-Instructional Technology with Robin Johnson; Sheila Partridge, The Mirror with Caroline Trowbridge; Becca Mills, Dr. Vernon Mills Pediatrics-St. John Medical Building with Nancy Agnew; Elliott Pestock, Altenhofen Cabinets with Kurt Altenhofen; Randy Pike, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Leavenworth County with Debbie Gregor; Brian Welsh, Tonganoxie Police Department with Chief Kenneth Carpenter; and Sarah Zishka, Eastern Kansas Career Network with Denise Griffey.
By seeing what their future looks like and what their career looks like, the students become more active in seeking their own goals. The most important tool the interns are learning is how the real world operates in a working environment.
The program, was given the green light to Mike Webb, Tonganoxie High School counselor and internship coordinator, by Richard Erickson, school superintendent, Mike Bogart, high school principal, and by members of the school board. The program has paid off, Webb said.
"This program has started off to a great beginning. We have eight interns currently involved and are very active in experiential learning. Three of the interns have picked up part-time jobs with their sponsor," Webb said.
The project has generated interest.
A video project sponsored by Fox 4 News shows what the school district is doing for the students who are participating in School-To-Career initiatives. The two-minute shows the interns at their jobs. Further, the interns will participate in mock interviews by Debbie Breuer of Community National Bank.
"The program is dedicated to giving the seniors an opportunity to be involved in experiential learning and career exploration," Webb said. "If any particular business wanted to be involved in sponsoring an intern, be involved in the overall educational process, and provide an opportunity for them to have a place to explore, and then be open and willing to the opportunity when it presents itself."
Kurt Altenhofen, Altenhofen Cabinets, agreed.
"The internship program gives the interns a real world flavor to what they're walking into and it shows them the pretty side and the ugly side of the field they're thinking of getting into. I've worked with interns before and I would definitely like to work with Tonganoxie interns again," Altenhofen said.
Sarah Zishka, a senior intern, said, "The internship program has given me a positive outlook on my career as a social worker, and as a person. I love it. What I do is motivating and fun to me."
Brian Welsh, who is also a senior, said he's liked the program.
"The internship program has given me the opportunity to decide my career field. It's something different besides traditional classes," he said.
Next year's enrollment in the program seems good, Webb said. So far, the school is counting on having at least 20 interns. They must have a 3.0 grade-point average, good attendance and available transportation.
"I see major growth for the future of the internship program. Students are beginning to find out what the internship can do for them and realizing that it can be beneficial to their career plans," Webb said.