For the last four weeks of school, a majority of Amity High School Seniors got their toes wet, working for local businesses and organizations as interns. The school’s guidance department runs the Senior Service Learning Program, through which seniors work 114 hours during the last four weeks of the school year.
Karen Waterman, College and Career Counselor, said the goal is to make the program more accessible for students to participate in. Students must have a 2.0 GPA and be in good standing as far as attendance and discipline issues. Students end their coursework in mid-May and gather paperwork for the application process. There is an application process with strict deadlines that she says helps prepare students for life in the ‘real world’.
“In the five years she has been here, Karen has grown the Career Center into a highly interactive space where students can to go to get information,” said Principal Anna Mahon. “She has taken on the work of growing our program exponentially and making it more meaningful, the work that our kids do at the end of their high school careers.”
The program is growing year after year, with the largest percentage of seniors—72%—participating this year. At the conclusion of the program, seniors are required to present to students, faculty, and community members about their experience. “Some of the benefits of the program are the relationships we have in the community. It’s a great way for our community to see what responsible, forward-thinking students we are producing here at Amity. It gives our students exposure to their first real work experience,” Waterman says.
Students intern at local schools, farms, family businesses and even at Yale University. This year, the program has placed interns at the Department of Homeland Security, Laticrete (owned by a former Amity family), Authair Computer Software, Rehab Associates Physical Therapy, Country Companion Vet Services (all owned by Amity alum), Coldwell Banker Real Estate and the Law Offices of Debra Marino.
Audrey Regan, a senior who worked at Peck Place School, said she chose to work at the school this spring because she is considering a career in education. “I have no idea what I want to pursue next year, but education is something I have thought about. I worked in the counseling department for the past four years and I’ve gotten a taste of the counseling side of high school. I think that by working there, it will give me a chance work in education before college,” she said.
Caitlyn Schultz did her internship with Red Skye Horse Barn, since she would like to become a state police officer in the canine program. “Due to my age, I am unable to do an internship with local police so I thought that it would make sense to do it at a horse barn where the use equines for therapy,” she said. “What’s interesting about Caitlyn’s choice is that an Amity teacher teaches riding at the Red Skye Barn and she introduced me to the owner. It really is this partnership and collaboration with the whole Amity school,” Waterman says.
Maggie Reames did her internship with Robert Taylor Photography and said, “I’ve been into art and photography since sixth grade, and I’m going to be working with him over the summer, so this is a perfect time for me to get to know him and see what it will be like to be working with him.”
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent