MARSHALL - Did you ever wish you could test-drive a job like you test-drive a vehicle? Students at Marshall High School get to do just that in Career Internship class.
"I chose what I chose because I always wanted to be a state trooper and my dad is a state trooper," said Andrew Larsen, who interned with the Minnesota State Patrol and rode along with different troopers, "so you get a different taste of stuff: vehicle inspection to K-9; flew in a helicopter and did ride-alongs in the Metro, which is very different from ride-alongs in Marshall."
"It's good they get to see what it's all about," said Cecelia Danahar, classroom instructor. "It can be really different than what they thought it is."
Photo by Jodelle Greiner
Neal Tykwinski shows how to fit pipe together, which he learned doing an internship with Bisbee Plumbing & Heating. Marshall High School students can take a Career Internship class to see if the field they are interested in is a good fit for them.
"I think one of the most important things they can learn from doing an internship is whether that's a career they would really enjoy and can find it out before they spend thousands of money on college tuition," said Brenda Kellen, career internship coordinator for 10 years. "Second reason is they make a connection in the community in that career that they are considering."
Neal Tykwinski's dad is in construction and "I've known people who were plumbers," but it was the aptitude tests they took as juniors that "confirmed it for me," he said. He interned with Bisbee Plumbing & Heating. Deanna DeVos interned in different hospital departments because "I'm going into nursing and wanted to learn more about it."
She enjoyed meeting new people and getting to do something new, but felt she didn't have enough time to cover everything she wanted.
"Surgeries were in the morning and I went in during the afternoon," Deanna DeVos said.
Danaca DeVos worked in the daycare at Marshall East Campus Learning Alternative (MECLA) and enjoyed "working one-on-one with all the kids," since she plans to study early childhood education.
"I like working with kids. They always react to something differently, never the same thing," Danaca DeVos said.
Tina Tauer "worked in all the different departments" in Bremer Bank because she wants to work in finance.
"Just working with people and learning more about finance," she said she enjoyed the most. "It's helpful for everyday life, too."
She regretted not being able to do more hands-on activities "because I'm not qualified, so I was doing a lot of observing."
All of the kids said the internship was a good idea.
"Nothing about the internship I really didn't like," Tykwinski said.
"It makes you understand what you want to do, if it's the right field," said Danaca DeVos.
"I don't think there could have been a better experience to learn about this," said Tykwinski. "Just being in the career field, getting to see if I'd like doing it for the rest of my life."
"Really wasn't anything I didn't like about it. Some nights were slow, but that's just part of the job," Larsen said. "Nice to experience firsthand what goes on. Talking to the troopers about the different roads they've taken in their careers."
It wasn't all trailing pros, the kids had homework, too, said Danahar, and the class earns them college credit, as well.
The students go to the internship site four days a week and spend one day a week in the classroom.
"In class, we do etiquette: cover shaking hands, introductions, dining etiquette," said Danahar as she hosted a dinner party for her students on Tuesday, "general business etiquette with phone and e-mail. Basic things you encounter in the business world."
"I think it's important they learn what employers expect from an employee," said Kellen. "I also hope they learn ethics."
"We cover current events and issues," Danahar said. "We live in a global world and need to accept other people's opinions."
She has the students journal, "which helps them think about the job they're doing," said Danahar, who has taught the class for eight years.
Each student also has a chance to explain what they are doing in their own internship and the others can ask questions.
"This improves their public speaking," Danahar said. "They learn by asking questions. When we're active learners, we learn more."
"I've been told we have a model program, the way we run it," said Kellen. "Something Marshall has that other schools don't.
"It's such a great way to connect school, students and community," said Kellen. "Remember the old saying, it takes a village to raise a child? This program is the application of that."