For the past month, John Jay High School seniors have been teaching, editing, filing, farming, sitting in meetings and stepping up with skills they might not have known they had. They’ve been on senior internships—independent learning experiences that range from Arc Stages, where Nicolas Spink is working with community theater, to Zephyr Farm, where Gabby Spain is helping out with horses.
Jessica Li and Sam Nichols are creating a mobile app that will allow John Jay students to get live, up-to-date school announcements on their smart phones with push notifications. “Our project was inspired by high school’s morning announcements, and how many students tend to miss information,” said Li. “The app development process is quite challenging! Nonetheless, we plan to have our app published onto the App Store and the Google Play Store by the end of the summer.”
Madison Zaccagnino and Samantha Sunderwirth are painting nature scenes on pillars in the children's section of Lewisboro Library.
Daniel Gordon is representing the Order of Malta at the United Nations. “I’ve writing reports to send to the headquarters in Rome and creating a pamphlet on the humanitarian aid of the Order,” said Gordon.
Eda Zhang is interning with John Jay High School ceramics teacher, Judi Offenberg. “This gave me the opportunity to teach a class of students on my own and helped to reinforce my public speaking skills,” said Zhang.
Eric Decaminada, who has studied tap dancing for more than a dozen years, is interning at Meadow Pond Elementary School, teaching music and physical education through tap, as well as choreographing two pieces for colleagues.
Other internships include Jackson Mingle at New York Medical College, Connor Melbourne at Merrill Lynch, Alyssa Ramsay at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Kathleen Jajko at CBSI Financial Services, and Hannah Dieck at the US District Court in White Plains.
The senior internship is not mandatory. This year, 179 seniors participated out of a graduating class of 282. The requirements allow for plenty of leeway: students must complete 25 hours a week, and keep a journal, which they submit to their academic advisor once a week, and participate in the Senior Independent Experience Fair on June 13, where they shared their experiences with the school community.
“The goal is for students to have meaningful independent learning experiences,” said Lucy Liberatore, guidance counselor at John Jay High School. “They have a chance to experience real life obligations, and weed out or bring in career interests.”
“I’m learning a lot about the political process and the intricacies that go into events,” said Elizabeth Parry, who is interning with the Bedford Town Board. “I learned that although the work was repetitive, I really enjoy work like this.”
“I researched the upcoming acts,” said Tyra Kushner, who is interning at the Capitol Theater. “A lot of the work I’ve been writing is being posted!”