BOURNE — In keeping with the district’s mission of preparing students for their future, no matter what track they choose, the Bourne Public Schools has made internships available to nearly 40 students at Bourne High School this year.
A total of 37 Bourne High School seniors have been engaging in internships this year through a new program at the school. After revamping their existing internship program, the new program is far more comprehensive and will provide more opportunities for students.
With a more formal approach to the program, internships are now available to all seniors, with the hope that eventually every member of the BHS senior class will be involved in an internship in some way.
The senior internships are a culmination of a four-year process that begins with a career readiness course for all freshmen, which serves as a way for students to explore options and get thinking about the future. Sophomores and juniors then take a practical finance course to learn about the real-world connections between their education and potential professional careers.
BHS School to Career/Innovation Pathways Coordinator Ann-Marie Strode, who serves as the freshmen career readiness teacher, meets with juniors every spring to figure out what internships may interest them. She also works with businesses from the community to see what potential internships they may be able to offer.
“The community has been all in on this program,” Strode said. “For such a small high school and close-knit community, everyone has really rallied around this program and turned it into something special.”
Examples of businesses and organizations that have contributed to the program include the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Bourne Police and Fire Departments, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and even members of the Bourne Public Schools who have allowed students to take part in internships within the district.
No matter the internship, students have taken the opportunities and made them their own.
“While having the internships available is great, the program would not be as successful as it has been without the enthusiasm of the students,” Strode said. “They are just so incredibly excited to get out of the classroom and do meaningful, hands-on work in their community. They really take so much ownership over it, which is the goal.”
Senior Hannah Wenzel has interned at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, working under the MMA’s Sports Information Director.
“It has helped me decide on becoming a Sports Information Director at a college myself,” Wenzel said. “I look forward to going to MMA every week, and learning more and more every time. I can not thank Mrs. Strode enough for this opportunity.”
Fellow senior Sommer Washabaugh was one of the students placed within the district, and her experience has also been impactful.
“I have been placed at the Bourne Intermediate School and I am working with Mrs. Gilbert and her amazing group of third graders,” Washabaugh said. “I am able to be very hands-on with the kids, work in small groups, or read aloud with the whole class. This has been such a wonderful experience so far and has been an absolute blast. I’ve loved working with these kids and I am very excited to continue my internship here.”
Strode stressed that the Bourne Public Schools provides opportunities for all students, and that a four-year college is not the only track. Seeing the way students have embraced their internships illustrates that.
“For a teacher, the greatest moment is seeing a student come back to school after a day at their internship and all they can do is talk about all the cool things they did and how much it means to them to be able to make a difference,” Strode said. “That’s what education is all about and that’s our mission here at BPS, making those connections and allowing students to think more broadly about their place and their community and their place in the world.”
Internships are built around each student’s schedule, and they have the option of working after school, on the weekends, or during school hours. Attention is given to ensure that each student is placed with a business or organization that most interests them.
“It’s all about making sure the students know they are supported. I think that’s what makes BHS such a special place,” Superintendent Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou said. “We are building our students’ confidence and never want to put them in a position where they fail. We are here for them, and hopefully, this internship program shows them that.”
Jessee Clements, BPS’ new Grade 6-12 Curriculum Director, has been impressed with how the program has come together during her first year in the district.
“Seeing Ann-Marie’s passion is second to none, and seeing the kids all dressed up to impress on their first day was really something special,” Clements said. “This type of program isn’t something you find in every school district.”
All seniors must keep a journal to chronicle their experiences, and in May the school holds an internship showcase where they can show members of the community all the things they have done and learned.
Senior interns showed off their accomplishments and spoke to those in attendance at the Innovations Pathway Open House at the high school on Tuesday, Nov. 29.