A number of students spent the summer as members of the workforce, earning spending money and applying old skills while learning new ones.
After coming home from the school’s trip to Spain, Andrew Cassino (11) had a month to spare. He wanted to do something productive with his time while making money, so he got his first job working at a pharmacy in Hunts Point.
At the pharmacy, Cassino served some customers who only spoke Spanish. Though Cassino knows some Spanish, the language barrier was a challenge he had to work around. A few customers quickly grew frustrated, Cassino said. Learning how to communicate with them while staying calm even if the customer was frustrated was important, Cassino said.
Darius McCullough (11), who worked as a camp counselor for second to eighth graders at the Bank Street Summer Camp, said he thought his job was a good experience to learn about working with children in addition to being a good résumé builder.
After being an intern at Bank Street’s leadership development program last summer, the leaders of the program offered McCullough a job as a counselor this year.
One specific camper in McCullough’s group was very difficult throughout the summer. “I had to talk to him a lot, telling him not to cry and to calm down. He always said he hated the camp, but on his last day we were at a meeting and he was leaning on me and when the meeting was over I looked down at him and realized he was crying because he didn’t want to leave,” McCullough said. The experience was validating to McCullough and proof that he was making an impact.
During her summer break, Nina Gaither (10) worked at an ice cream shop in Jamestown, Rhode Island in addition to working at Literacy Partners in the city. Gaither said she wanted to work at the ice cream shop because she already had many friends working there.
Through her job this summer working at a coffee shop, Nshera Tutu (10) learned not only the basics of being a barista, but also important interpersonal skills that she picked up from communicating with customers. Tutu said she also learned a lot about money management.
McCullough said he learned problem solving skills while working with his campers, especially regarding conflicts between them.
As a summer advisor at Prep for Prep, Daniel Chang (11) worked with students teaching them the skills they will need when they go to their independent schools.
“I learned how important some things I’ve been overlooking were to being a successful student,” Chang said.
Griffin Smith (11) worked at a surf shop and gave surf lessons in Long Beach Island, New Jersey this summer.
Although many students at the school choose to spend their summers as unpaid interns for politicians or lawyers, or embarking on expensive travel programs, Smith chose his job because “I felt I would benefit more from an experience of doing an actual job and doing something for myself than a program already laid out for me,” he said.
Smith said working at the store gave him an inside look into what running a small business is really like.