Students given career bridges Education: Through business internships, North County High School students combine classroom work with hands-on experience.

September 22, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Kristie Daukzsewicz has been fascinated by the power of computers since she was a little girl, and wants to make it her career. The question is, what kind of company does she want to work for?

The North County High School senior is hoping that an internship in the human resources department at Chesapeake Packaging Co. in Baltimore will help her decide.

Kristie's "school-to-careers" internship has become an education trend as educators try to help students see the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the working world.

"If young people can see meaning and purpose behind the need to demonstrate good communication in school, or algebra, or whatever, they will be better motivated," said Tom Miller, director of career and technology education for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. "We've got a lot of young people who leave high school with no direction."

And then there are students like Kristie, who have put together some pieces of the puzzle, but not all of them.

Kristie, 17, works in an unpaid internship for two hours each day after school at Chesapeake, where she helps write reports and articles for the company's newsletter.

Kristie, who wants to study computers at Salisbury State College, said she never flinched at the thought of working without pay when Deborah Irby, her business computers teacher at North County, told her about the internship.

"I'm not into everything for money. I don't know what I want to do, but I like computers a lot. I told her I'd try [this] because it's a challenge," said Kristie.

She has put together an equal employment opportunity report for Chesapeake and is getting exposure to every department, from sales to accounting, she said.

"I never knew people had to do this much stuff to keep up with a business," said Kristie.

LaVerna Boston, human resource manager at Chesapeake, said the company is participating in the program to help students get a "realistic education and acquire skills and competency to be a productive worker so that they will come in and add value."

Joyce Coleman, the school-to-careers facilitator for county schools, said she hopes to establish the program at Glen Burnie High School.

Some teachers worry that the program might take away from students' regular curriculum, but Coleman said that is not so.

"We aren't talking about watering down a curriculum. We're talking about reality," Coleman said.

Kelly Karnes, 18, graduated last May from North County and is attending Anne Arundel County Community College, in part because of the focus the job gave her, she said.

Kelly, who works part-time for Chesapeake while attending college, said she found her internship "a lot better than filling up my schedule with things that are nothing to me, like gym, just to fill out my schedule."

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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