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Early College Graduates Get Real Life Experience Through Graduate Internships


More than 50 community employers have hired 91 graduating Early College students to intern in their businesses this school year as part of a new program designed to help them get real-life experience before they graduate in May.

Students are expected to complete a 100-hour career-focused internship between August and April of the year that they graduate.  This new requirement replaces a previous requirement that students complete community service hours on alternating Fridays throughout the school year.

A wide variety of businesses are taking part in the program.  Students are interning at businesses ranging from The Wild Horse Ranch Farm in Supply, the Planetarium in Sunset Beach, a mortuary in Southport called Peacock, Newman, and White Funeral and Cremation Services, and the Brunswick County Government.

“I think it’s going really well,” says School Counselor Beth Rasberry Wurch. “The students are very excited.  They’ve submitted their emails and started their hours.  This is our first time, so we are learning what works and what doesn’t.”

December Graduate Nick Slease will be working for Solstice Builders, learning construction site management skills.  Some days he will be working on construction skills and some days he will be working on construction management skills.

“I’m excited about this opportunity because it helps me get insight for my career later on,” he says. “After graduation, I plan to save money before returning to school in the fall at Cape Fear Community College for a full construction degree through their two-year program.”

Graduate William Clements has been interning with the Naval Office in Wilmington throughout the summer, working with new recruits to figure out what they want to do in the Navy. “Technically, I’ve already joined the Navy. I don’t go to Boot Camp until January because I graduate in December. I’m in their ‘Delayed Employment Program.’”

Clements is a fan of the ECHS internship program. “The internship program is a good idea to get people into the real world and introduced to their careers.”

Not every student is as confident as Slease and Clements. Some students have been matched with employers they have not yet met.  Graduate Jason Zheng matched with the Brunswick County Schools Internet Technology Department. He reports feeling “uneasy.”

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing yet,” Zheng says. “I’ll settle down once I get into a routine of what I”m supposed to do.”

Graduate Liliana Smithers has been paired with the Bachara and Essey Law Firm in Southport. Like Zheng, she reports that she does not know what to expect.

“I’m excited, though, because I want to go into the criminology field,” she says. “I feel like it will be good for me because it will give me more insight for what I want to do with my career than the volunteering I was doing before.” In past years, Smithers reports volunteering with 4H and an animal shelter.

Photo by Memento Media on Unsplash

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About the Contributor
Laura Askue
Laura Askue, Contributing Writer
Ms. Askue heads the English Department and Honors Journalism at Brunswick County Early College High School in Bolivia, NC.

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