The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Internships provide students learning opportunities

Photo courtesy of Alana Louvis
On Feb. 11, Alana Louvis visted one of the many houses she has been working on in this past year as a part of her internship in real esate. Through her internship, Louvis is able to see first hand what a career in real estate includes.

College decisions are slowly rolling in and many WCHS students are noticing a pattern: no acceptance is guaranteed. With the applicant pool becoming increasingly more competitive each year, it is more important than ever to try and find ways to stand out among other applicants. The newly popular internship class at WCHS might be the key to doing just that.

“[The benefit of an internship is] you get an early peek into the career,” WCHS teacher and internship coordinator Justin Ostry said. “Internship is a half-day schedule for seniors that allows students to gain experience for a weighted grade in a career field of their choice.”

Ostry’s experience running a similar internship program at another MCPS school inspired him to aid in leading the program. Additionally, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, a program that focuses on transforming the public school system for the greater good of Maryland students, is another driving force behind WCHS’s recent push to have students more involved in internships. Blueprint for Maryland’s Future took notice of the advantages students with internships had and encouraged all Maryland students to take part in an internship for these positive lessons and advantages.

“The state [of Maryland] sees that I’m teaching you computer science, but are you seeing how it would relate to the real world?” Ostry said. “ I think the state is really seeing that you need to have that experience, good or bad, to see if that’s what you want to do. Mr. Taylor saw this coming down and [that I wanted to do this] so we made it work.”

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The WCHS Internship course starts with registration, just like any other class. Students pick anywhere between one and three periods to allocate for their internship. The number of periods chosen corresponds to the required hours per week spent at the internship. From there, the search for an internship is on. Once the students have narrowed their focus and started to identify internships they are interested in, either from a list provided by Ostry or through other connections, they begin to craft their resume and cover letters and apply. This is all done independently, so the student must be passionate enough to complete these things.

“This is for anyone who is a self-motivated student,” Ostry said. “If you want to sit and listen to a lecture, then an internship probably isn’t good because you have to find your internship. You have to apply, put your resume together and go on the interviews, so I really think this is for motivated individual students who are like ‘I want this.’”

It is rare to hear from a student with an internship that they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their internship, and WCHS senior Alana Louvis is no different. Louvis has worked with a real estate office all year to learn and observe what the field entails.

“It is a fantastic opportunity,” Louvis said. “We learn a lot in school, but we aren’t given the opportunity to apply it in real life. An internship immerses you in the real world, showing firsthand what work-life balance looks like and what it means to pursue something you’re passionate about.”
Although the drawbacks to the course are minimal, some might still worry students. Time constraints with extracurriculars, transportation and the stress of college applications should be considered when rising seniors are considering the course.
“At the start of the year, balancing both was challenging, but as the year progressed, I found a groove, balancing homework, studying, and internship tasks,” Louvis said. “Also, due to my triple-period internship, I leave right when the bell rings for lunch. Sometimes I’m too busy to have lunch with friends or even eat before driving to DC. I have to factor in changing from school clothes to work clothes and the drive time.”
Overall, most students participating have had nothing but positive takeaways. These pros range from adding unique and impressive experience to resumes and college applications to acquiring professional and personal life skills that can be useful in all aspects of life.
“The two most crucial things I’ve learned are time management and effective communication,” Louvis said. “Efficient time management helps you get more done, [which is] crucial in real estate, where you often operate on your clients’ time. Communication is vital; I’ve learned to communicate professionally with clients, fellow realtors, and my mentor, which have also helped me communicate with my friends and family better as well!”
Ostry strongly believes in the course and sees no downside to participating. He has been urging juniors all year to register for the class, hoping this program can reach as many students as possible.
“I think you should be doing internships in high school, college and graduate school because that’s the only way you’re going to see if this is what you want to do, and that’s why I want this to be as big a program as it can be because I truly believe the kids will benefit,” Ostry said. “What is your story? The internship should enhance it.”

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About the Contributors
Kendyl Groisser
Kendyl Groisser, Online Managing Editor
Kendyl Groisser is a senior and the Online Managing Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. This is her third year taking journalism at Churchill. She first started writing articles at her summer camp which influenced her to take it at school as well. During her free time, she enjoys playing on the Churchill Lacrosse team and hanging out with her friends.
Claire Moylan
Claire Moylan, Photo Manager & Assistant Features Editor
Claire Moylan is a junior and a Photo Manager for the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism and she is super excited to continue working on the Observer. In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer and lacrosse and spending time with friends.

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