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“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”
Nowadays it seems like every high school is the same: football teams, key clubs, and boring classes. Students go to school, do their time and go home. But does that really get them ready for the real world? Are they going to be able to be on the dance team their entire life? And what are the chances that they’ll go pro in football?
These are things most high schools don’t think about, but, to my advantage, my high school does. New Technology High School focuses on twenty-first century skills. In project-based classes, we learn how to utilize technology and communication to work in an environment based on trust, respect and responsibility. Our school believes in the importance of preparing students for the future in ways like creating real-world scenario projects, presenting to our peers and working at internships.
Every New Tech High School student is required to complete a forty hour internship in order to graduate. We are given the freedom to choose our own – based on our specific interests – but the school does partner with one company to give students a first step. Lowry Solutions takes on about 15 interns each summer, but the process starts long before June.
During the school year, a few Lowry employees come and give a school-wide presentation. This presentation includes information about the Lowry-New Tech internship availabilities, how to get involved and more about the business world in general. They go into each junior English class and discuss the process. That includes us creating a project on a Lowry-related topic (RFID, advertising, etc.) with a unique idea and presenting it to a Lowry board. The project my group presented was on the topic of RFID tags being used in amusement parks. After two weeks of planning, practicing and perfecting, the class goes to Lowry Solutions and presents. Graded on business attire, presentation skills and project quality, groups and individuals are chosen for the internship and notified about a month later.
After hearing word of the internship offer, schedules are made and we are placed in the department most suitable to our interests. My internship took place near the end of the summer, and I focused on Product Management. I helped with research, running reports, creating ads and outlining landing pages. I enjoyed being given a task and being trusted to come back with a well-polished final product. During the week that I was an intern at Lowry, I enjoyed learning about not only the business world as a whole, but learning how the company works and that each employee is an important asset to the entire unit. I was able to see how I wasn’t just given busy work: I was taken seriously.
To New Tech students, this is not just an internship because we need it to graduate; this is an opportunity to open doors to important business connections, open our eyes to our future career possibilities, and a chance to experience the real world and figure out what all that preparation and hard work is for.