The most important experience of my high school career

Published 4:39 pm Monday, July 23, 2012

By KATIE McDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

Ten years have passed since I graduated from high school.

I’ve given that anniversary quite a bit of thought recently, thanks to the invitation to my 10-year high school reunion. However, a recent story I wrote about Cornerstone Christian School’s new work/study program caused me to give more thought to my time in high school.

I also participated in a work/study program during my senior year of school. Although I had worked as a lifeguard for the previous two summers, the work/study program allowed me to have my first real job.

Looking back, I think it was one of the most important experiences of my high school career.

I worked in the compliance department of a financial holding company. I was expected to dress appropriately, show up to work on time, act professionally and do my job correctly. That doesn’t sound like much, but for a 17-year-old with little work experience, it was a challenge at times.

I enjoyed the job and loved my co-workers. While I ultimately decided banking wasn’t for me, I am so thankful I had that experience at an early age.

That’s why I was so interested to hear CCS Principal Jay Adams tell me about the school’s new program.

“We like to give our students the maximum opportunity to learn about careers that interest them before they spend five or six figures on college tuition,” he said.

This is an incredible opportunity for the students, and I think CCS is wise to offer it. I’ve worked with enough interns over the last 10 years to know that students in their late teens and early 20s often change their minds about a career path once they see the day-to-day aspects of a job.

Adams didn’t mention this, but a work/study program also offers students a chance to learn the social responsibilities that come with a “grown-up job.”

CCS is still looking for businesses that are interested in offering paid or unpaid internships. I hope local businesses will take advantage of this opportunity. The students must meet minimum standards to participate in the program, so local businesses receive quality help as well as the chance to develop young people in the community.

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