Program turns students into employees

From snack time to play time, high schoolers help primary children in an after-school program.

Senior+Claire+Flaherty+sets+up+a+Connect+4+game+with+Convent+Elementary+students+in+the+Ellen+Hoffman%2C+RSCJ+Learning+Center+as+part+of+her+job+in+the+After+School+Program%2C+where+high+school+students+get+real+work+experience.+

Catherine Dana

Senior Claire Flaherty sets up a Connect 4 game with Convent Elementary students in the Ellen Hoffman, RSCJ Learning Center as part of her job in the After School Program, where high school students get real work experience.

Catherine Dana, Senior Reporter

After eight hours of school, a few students report to their part-time jobs in the cafeteria to set up snacks for elementary students, provide support with homework and help with pickup when the grade school parents arrive.

The students are given many of the same responsibilities as the hired adults working for the After School Program, according to Auxiliary Program Director Joey Elftmann.

“We really do try to get them to feel just the same as our employees who have college degrees,” Elftmann said about the high schoolers. “It’s great to get the opportunity to not only get that paycheck but also get to see what it’s like to be a young professional.”

The job entails communicating with young children, and it provides an opportunity to heighten skills that can be used in daily life, including professionalism and conflict-resolution, according to junior Samrawit Beyene, who began working at the After School Program this year.

“It opens part of your brain that you don’t really use when you’re at school or you’re at home or when your playing sports,”  SHHS senior Aurelio Jimenez, an employee for ASP, said.  “Truly engaging with somebody much younger than yourself and trying to be an example or role model to them, it’s good.”

Some high school students work five days a week, from after school until 6 p.m.

“You get to work with kids,” Jimenez said. “Most people don’t learn how to develop relationships with younger kids as teenagers.”

Students interested in working in the after school program can either contact Elftmann or Student Activities Director Devin DeMartini-Cooke. The application process includes submitting a resumé and an interview. Elftmann says he is looking for professional, capable and energetic students.

“That’s one of the kids I watch,” Jimenez said as a third grader walked by and said hi. “It’s my favorite thing to do after school. It gives you a good break from the rigorous academic activity, and you can relax a little.”

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