A dozen eighth-graders at Countryside Montessori Charter School have experienced something few, if any, of their peers have in the Land O’ Lakes area.
The soon-to-be-graduates were among the first to take on the task of interning at local businesses throughout the week of May 19. They spent several hours of their day at a variety of businesses in the local area, from schools to pet day care centers.
The students developed their own internship preparation while their teacher, Bobbianne Grant, implemented the idea of gaining real-world experience in a range of professional settings.
This particular program was the first time the school has allowed students to participate in internships with a goal of achieving a better feel for their future professions.
Based on its success this year, Countryside plans to continue the internship program next year for seventh and eighth graders.
“The internships give the eighth-grade students the opportunity to experience the work force before going into high school,” said Grant, the Countryside teacher leading the project.
Grant gave these students, including this writer, the ability to successfully experience different work atmospheres and assist in each company’s needs.
Many students said they had a positive experience and learned a great deal of work skills. Their feedback has given the school valuable input to help its students in future internship programs in high school and college.
The students who participated in the program said they appreciated the opportunity that was given to them, and hope they will be able to engage in a similar task in their futures.
“Internships are like an opportunity for us to see the real world,” said Devyn Dacus, 13, one of a dozen students that participated in the internships. “Since we are not yet adults, internships are one of the few chances we have to see the work force.”
Dacus interned at Countryside Montessori Academy, one of two preschool and kindergarten divisions related to the Montessori program. It’s located on Carson Drive, a few miles from the main charter school campus at Ehren Cutoff.
“At the preschool I was interning at, I had a great experience,” Dacus added. “It made me realize how tedious it actually is to care for toddlers.”
Her classmate, Abby Kuskin, did her internship at Grace Family Church in Lutz and Black Saddle Stables in Odessa and Land O’ Lakes. She said the experiences were cool and interesting, and it could help her achieve a dream of owning her own nonprofit children’s ministry home.
The school’s seventh graders also were allowed to participate in internships by shadowing the elementary school teachers at Countryside and experiencing a school day from the teacher’s point of view.
“The shadowing was a great experience,” said Julia Leck, one of the participating seventh graders in the project.
The program — led by Grant and her colleagues at Countryside — allowed the interns to gain experiences and memories they can apply to their own future careers.
Ashley Schrader spent a week as an intern at The Laker/Lutz News as part of Countryside Montessori Charter School’s careers project.
The businesses that participated in the Countryside Montessori Charter School internship program, and the students who interned, included:
• A Perfect Smile, Natalia Estrada
• Victory Lane Motorcars, Dinah Miranda
• Central Bark Doggie Day Care, Jayden Trenchik and Katie Champion
• Countryside Montessori Academy, Devyn Dacus
• On Your Toes, Brianna Lusk
• MediTech Medical Center, Sam Talero
• Grace Family Church and Black Saddle Stables, Abby Kuskin
• Quality Pet, Owen Robison
• The Laker/Lutz News, Ashley Schrader
By Ashley Schrader
Published June 4, 2014