Summer Jobs Pay Off

Most students at the Academy spent their summers hanging out with friends, going to the movies, and traveling to exotic destinations. Some, however, treated the long break as an opportunity to gain valuable work and intern experience. A number of students stayed close to school, working as Pace Camp counselors; many also worked at other camps all over the country. Babysitting and nannying put easy money into students’ pockets, as they were basically paid for playing with kids.

Other students tackled more uncommon jobs. Senior Megan McCurry worked an internship at Red Maples Vet Clinic, “immersing [herself] in the life and work of a small animal veterinarian,” according to Megan. Participating in surgeries, observing appointments and procedures, drawing vaccines, and running tests were all a part of her daily schedule. Megan also worked a boarding assistant.

Junior John Morrison worked on the campaign staff of Burrell Ellis, who won his second term as DeKalb County’s CEO July 31. John explained that his job description changed almost hourly. Some of his tasks included making phone calls, taking inventory of campaign shirts, putting up yard signs, and on election day, polling precincts. John said that the job “prepared me for a high-pressure business environment; even though I certainly wasn’t the most important person in the office, everything I did was related to something important. Not a lot of high schoolers get that kind of preparation and experience.”

Senior Kelly McGonnigle interned at Vernit Systems, a technology company that provides analytic software and hardware to government enterprises. By completing tasks such as enhancing the company’s website, creating PowerPoints for meetings, and making introductory videos for their new products, Kelly got to experience what a real working job is like.

Senior Evan Young, a member of the Knight Capital Club, appealed to the group’s founder, Pace parent John Reece, to help get him a connection to someone in the business and financial industry. Evan landed a job interning for a Georgia Tech M.B.A. professor, which he claimed was a “perfect fit” as he plans on pursuing a similar business-related career in the future.

Meredith Bradshaw worked at Houston’s.

Another senior, Meredith Bradshaw, worked as a hostess at Houston’s for around 25 hours a week over the summer. However, only after she passed an extensive three-part interview with the three managers; took a personality and intelligence test; and passed a menu, seating, phone, and artwork test did she become a full-fledged hostess. When asked how this job would benefit her in the future, Meredith exclaimed that she now “knows what to expect in my career down the road, while at the same time learning how to answer people confidently, when in reality I have no idea what I’m talking about.” Some of the guest interactions that Meredith experienced while working there included: mistaking women for men, being called a Nazi for not allowing a guest’s kids to sit at a separate table (which is against the policy), dealing with out-of-control drunks, and being called a thief for “stealing” an iPad.

Junior Harrison Halberg worked at the East Harlem School, a middle school for underprivileged children, in hopes of getting some experience to become a teacher later in life. One of the most surprising things to him was just how strict and rigid the program was. The children received demerits if they did not finish their food and had to ask to take anything out of their bag, or even pick up a pencil. Reflecting on the job, Harrison said, “I really enjoyed getting to know the kids individually, and knowing I was doing something beneficial for those who are less fortunate was a really great feeling.”

By Shaista Dhanesar, Opinion Editor ’14

Photo: Meredith Bradshaw

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