June 01, 2020
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Maine high school requires seniors to take internships

Liz Gotthelf | Journal Tribune
Liz Gotthelf | Journal Tribune
Old Orchard Beach High School guidance counselor Jacqueline Hayes leads an internship workshop Wednesday at the school's cafeteria.

Students from Old Orchard Beach High School will have some real-world experience under their belt before graduating, which hopefully will give them an edge in the job market.

After launching a pilot program last year, the school is now requiring all students not in a vocational program to do an internship in their senior year.

An overview of the program was given to students by guidance counselor Jacqueline Hayes and education technician Jimmy Pirrello at a workshop on Wednesday morning. Students also heard from Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce + Industry Executive Director Craig Pendleton, Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce Marketing Manager Meagan Poirier and Goodwill Industries Youth Services Coordinator Diane Girling.

Students will research potential internship sites, meet with school staff and have an internship in place by January.

Through the internship program, students must work at least 30 hours on site in a career field of choice. Students also must write a reflection piece, make a presentation and attend a resume and interview workshop.

Students were encouraged to pursue the internship of their choice.

“We want you to guys to have an opportunity to find something you’re really excited about,” Hayes said.

Pirrello said someone did an internship in a school in Norway last year.

“Anything is possible,” he said. “This is your internship.”

Hayes said everyone who participated in an internship the previous year learned something valuable. Some learned they loved the field they had chosen, and others learned they should consider pursuing something else.

School Board member Carol Marcotte, who is also an associate professor of Teachers Education at the University of New England told students she was a first generation college graduate. She said she didn’t go to college until she was in her 30s and became interested in teaching after doing an internship in a school. She told students that internships are a very valuable experience.

“There are so many opportunities for you out there,” she said.

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