hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

November 15, 2012

Learning the ropes

Students get experience shadowing police officers, mechanics

By Alex Lippa alippa@hgazette.com
The Haverhill Gazette

---- — The career path some high-schoolers may choose is far off their radar.

But some Haverhill High School students are getting practical experience in a work environment as they consider which career to pursue.

It’s all part of the Haverhill High School Internship Program. Participating students are taking a class for a half credit, which involves them shadowing local business people and public service workers. Students go to the businesses twice a week for about two hours each time. They go there either after school or during the last period of the day if they are caught up on all of their academic credits.

Lisa Hunt, one of the program’s coordinators, was responsible for finding businesses which would allow the kids to shadow their workers.

“We have a bunch of locations based on students’ interests,” Hunt said. “The students seem to love it.”

The students have been placed in a variety of locations. Several are shadowing lawyers at the Law Office of Honig & Barnes and the Law Office of Ursula Furi-Perry. Others have been shadowing officers at the Haverhill Police Department and one student is shadowing an accountant in the city’s finance department.

Student Karen Mendez-Garcia was placed at Merrimack Valley Hospital because she is interested in becoming a nurse. While there, she greets patients who come into the emergency room and comforts them while they are waiting.

“It’s really interesting so far,” she said. “Everyone is really nice. I joined this internship because I wanted to become a nurse and this is helping me to see if I really want to be in the nursing field.”

While the students have enjoyed it, the businesses and organizations participating are also benefitting from having interns.

“The businesses have been wonderful,” Hunt said. “There are some really good mentors who are excited to share what they do.”

Hunt said one girl is shadowing the auto mechanics at Regan Ford. She does work involving inventory of parts, which saves valuable time for the mechanics.

Over this school year’s two semesters, the internship program will have 40 “at risk” students, kids who are in danger of dropping out. The program is paid for by a 21st Century Learning Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

In recent years, the program has convinced students to pursue the field they are interested in.

Last year, a student shadowed a veterinarian and she now is in veterinary school.

“They weren’t sure if she were going to be able to handle the blood,” Hunt said. “But this solidified her interest and she went on to vet school.”

These businesses, organizations and city offices are participating in the Haverhill High School Internship Program: Bergman & Associates DeAngelis Studio of Music & Arts Europa Hair Designs Dr. Richard Jasiak Optometry Finance Dept of Haverhill Public Schools Haverhill Community Television Haverhill District Court Haverhill Mayor's Office Haverhill Police Department Haverhill YMCA Karla Pattavina's Dance Academy Law Office of Honig & Barnes Law Office of Ursula Furi-Perry Lightspeed MFG Little Footprints Learning Center Little Sprouts Megahertz Computer Merrimack Valley Hospital MSPCA, Methuen Muzzy Lane Software, Newburyport Penacook Place Pleasant Valley Animal Hospital, Methuen Prestige Travel, Plaistow Regan Ford Simple Greetings, Georgetown Team Coordinating Agency Team Haverhill Top Cuts Walter Lane Cabinetmaker WHAV