As a college freshman, Bob Schneider believed he was destined to become a lawyer. But after attending a pre-law course, Schneider decided the profession wasn’t for him. For Schneider, the theory of law was more intriguing than the day-to-day practicality of the field. And so he pursued a different path — education — and went on to eventually become the principal of Pierson High School. Now Schneider hopes to give Pierson seniors a chance to explore different professions in the field and is in the midst of coordinating an internship program for seniors.
“I want to bridge the gap between what goes on in school and what goes on in the real world,” explained Schneider. “We all have impressions of some kind of career. The reality can turn out to be something else. It can be better or worse. But I want to give kids a chance to explore and get a realistic idea of a profession.”
Schneider added that the focus of the internships aren’t to help students choose a career at a younger age, but expose them to many different experiences before they decide which field to pursue.
According to guidance counselor Linda Aydinian similar programs exist for high school students throughout the state and internships aren’t a new concept to Pierson.
In previous years, explained guidance counselor Eileen Kochanasz, students participated in a child development internship where they helped out in an elementary school art, physical education or music class, and even created lesson plans.
Schneider hopes the senior program will expand upon this idea to include a mentorship aspect. Though Schneider is still solidifying the nuts and bolts of the program, Pierson senior David Horn will soon begin an internship with music teacher Eric Reynolds. Horn hopes to pursue a career in music performance, but has left himself open to exploring the field of music education.
“I want to give [David] a mock budget. I want him to look at the percussion instruments and see what equipment he thinks we should buy,” said Reynolds in describing what he has in mind for Horn’s upcoming internship. “I might have him design a concert program. He might sit in on a [faculty] meeting.”
For Horn, music has been a passion for most of his life and it’s something he plans to concentrate on in college, but he still sought out a hands on experience in his potential career. Student Kyla Kudlak is organizing her internship at a local law office, while Aly Bori and Jessica Warne plan to work with the Sag Harbor Express to hone their writing and photography skills.
Schneider added that he is still looking for local businesses and professionals to volunteer to mentor these seniors. Many of the interested students are still finishing up SAT tests and college applications, so Schneider says the program should be in full swing by the winter. In the future, he imagines students enrolling in the program throughout the year as it works with their schedules.
Kochanasz added that internships help round out students’ applications for college.
“It makes their resume and college application stand out,” remarked Kochanasz. “It shows they have already pursued [a career].”