INTERNS TRY TO WORK IT OUT.
Some of the greatest lessons a student can learn aren't in a textbook or a classroom. They're in the workplace, where students get a taste of what it's like to work with others and take on responsibilities.
At High Tech High in Lake Balboa, all seniors must take part in an internship program in which they are paired with a local business and mentor to learn the ropes of the work world.
The program is in its third year.
Gloria Malkin, internship coordinator at High Tech High, said many students are most apprehensive about making the initial contact with their assigned mentors.
"That's one of the things they're most nervous about. Most of these students have never had a job before," she said.
So she has drafted a script that the students can use to help calm their jitters.
All students must contact their mentors and visit the company where they'll intern before starting their first day of work.
In their nonpaid internships, the students work from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of the semester.
There are 38 seniors in the program this semester, Malkin said. Another 38 will serve internships next semester.
Gregory Shilton is interning at Merry Maids in Granada Hills, a match that surprised him.
"I was a bit disappointed at first. But, upon arrival, I really enjoyed it. My co-workers are really nice and my boss is great," he said.
He is using Microsoft Excel to create charts and graphs comparing the company's sales with projections. In the future, he'll be processing payments, too.
Monica Fernandez is interning at Cooper-Beavers Inc., a marketing and graphic design company in Encino.
So far, she's been helping set up the company's business portfolio, which includes taking an inventory of all its photos.
Jennifer Carcamo is interning at valleynews.com, which is part of the Los Angeles Daily News. So far, she's set up Web site coding for a blog the newspaper is starting to cover neighborhood councils and resident groups in the San Fernando Valley.
She's also helping edit stories on valleynews.com and will be doing feature stories about area schools.
Other companies and organizations sponsoring interns this semester include the Boys & Girls Club, Kaiser Permanente, Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, MEND, the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Jewish Home for the Aging.
All three students said they are happy that they weren't given assignments to just fill their time.
"I'm actually contributing to the company," Fernandez said.
After graduation, Shilton wants to be an "Imgineer," which is an engineer who creates rides for Disney theme parks and resorts.
Fernandez wants to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in fashion design, while Carcamo wants to pursue a career in journalism.
To find out more about the internship program at High Tech High, e-mail Malkin at gloria.malkin(at)hthla.org or call her at (818) 609-2685.
(color) Three of the High Tech High seniors participating in the school's internship program this semester are Jennifer Carcamo, left, Monica Fernandez and Gregory Shilton.
Mark Kellam/Daily News