From classroom to real world; experience in thew work force allows for student growth

William Tyler , Reporter

Few teenagers have decided what they want to do with the rest of their lives. This might be due to the lack of real world experiences, and DHS is looking to help. Internships are being offered at DHS for students to experience a variety of jobs, gradually finding what’s perfect for them.

Academic Counselor Rachel Colsman helps students prepare for internships, and commented on the advantages and disadvantages of the program.

“Internships give kids an opportunity to work within the community and do hands on exploration… It gives you a much better idea of what you want to do when you get into college,” said Colsman. She also commented on the disadvantages of internships being available at DHS.

“The downside is [that] it takes a lot of work behind-the- scenes,” said Colsman.

Fitting the schedule in with the required time to prepare for an internship is difficult, whether it’s going at the end of school, or during school.

“It’s always the end of the day, because you aren’t going to go out for 50 minutes. Some students won’t start till 4:00 P.M. Since they get out at 2:25 P.M, they have time to go home, get changed, shower and go to their internship and work till 9:00 P.M,” said David Dillman, a marketing teacher in the department of Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Big Picture High School, who implements internships on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week, has a working schedule for their school. Compared to Durango High School though, there’s a big difference.

“Their schedule works really well in their school environment. They have less than 100 students, we have over 1,100. For us to be able to pull Tuesdays and Thursdays, the way our bell and schedule is set up, it doesn’t work for us. Some businesses look for that, but right now we don’t have the structures to support that,” said Vice Principal Brandon Thurston.

Determining whether or not a student enjoys internships or doesn’t enjoy them is also very important because unpleasant internships have little benefit. Luckily, in Colsman’s experience, most students do enjoy and benefit from their internships.

“Every student that I’ve ever worked with that has been able to do an internship has really enjoyed it if it is meaningful and purposeful. Being able to create two different experiences for them so they can get a clear pathway to their long term goals is the way to go. I’ve had students who haven’t had a great experience with them, but that’s because they realized that wasn’t exactly the career path for them,” said Colsman.

The 60 hour work graduation requirement is something difficult to reach without a job or internship if you’re only doing community service. However, because internships count towards work hours, the graduation requirement could be affected by it, possibly by increasing the hours required.

“I think this is a great step for us to start moving towards work based opportunities. It’s a great thing for us to recognize that our students are leaving with some great content, but maybe aren’t as prepared in the work field,” said Thurston.

Internships are mainly used to help students with their employment skills, which also benefits their future careers. Maintaining these skills through internships can affect students in the long term.

The long term effect could be different from the short term effect, but in a more positive way.

“Long term, I think it’s going to give our students a leg up on everybody coming out of the graduation pool. Once you start applying the soft skills that you’ve learned on a job and combine those with the strong academics that we already have, then our graduates are going to come out in a really good place and have some great opportunities down the road,” said Thurston.