What Do You Have In Mind For Your Senior Internship?


Alex Horan (left), Zach Lang (middle), and Brandon Pace (right)

Wyatt Page, Staff Writer

Seldom does a school program last from the inception of the school.  Typically, as the educational programming adapts over time, so does the curriculum. It may come as a surprise, therefore, that the ODA senior internship program does not fit this description.  The program has lasted this long because the objectives have remained a priority for years. According to Rodney Woods, Head of the History Department and coordinator of senior internships, the program’s objective is to “get seniors to take responsibilities for themselves” in a context outside of school. But where do seniors rank this feature of their senior year?

Senior skip day, lunch off campus, and sleeping-in during those early morning free periods are some of the most anticipated of privileges extended to seniors.  However, just as appreciation for the change in dress code from the lower to upper campus, these privileges can become expected and the gratitude for them can fade.

As the appreciation for senior privileges fades, anticipation of the seniors’ shortened school year, ending April 26th, comes into the forefront of every graduating student’s mind.  But the euphoria is short-lived.  The ending of eight to three o’clock school marks the inception of the senior internship program, and ostensibly a nine to five job.  Despite the extra hour of sleep, for many the program presents stress.

The majority of this dismay comes from the anxious process of merely finding a business willing to take interns with no high school degree.  It is safe to say the odds are stacked against us.  Regardless, seniors have always found a way to circumvent this challenge and fulfill the graduation requirement.  Brandon Place did just this.

Brandon plans on majoring in communications and using this degree to work towards a career as a news anchor or sports critic of some sort.  “[Brandon’s] brother and Dad both have good connections in [these] industries,” says Brandon. His dad has retained a friendly relationship with a client who was in the television business, specifically ABC 7 news, and can potentially get Brandon an internship there.  Additionally, Brandon’s brother has worked in the private equity industry for ten years, buying out companies where value is seen and selling them for a profit.  Communication is an integral part of this business and would aptly fit Brandon’s desired career path.  A family connection was the strategy Brandon used to find his internship, but Alex Horan, found his internship working for his neighbor.

Alex and his family live on a small island an hour outside of Sarasota known as Boca Grande.  Just two weeks into Alex’s search for an internship, he came across his neighbor who happens to be the owner of a newspaper company.  His company covers events occurring anywhere from Boca Grande to Port Charlotte, and has utilized Alex in the past for his photography ability when the company was reporting on a local 5k race.  “They liked my work and consequentially will gladly give me an internship,” reflects Alex.  Alex presumes he will be photographing events similar to that of the 5K race.  Given Alex plans to minor in photography or cinematography, this internship would aptly fit his desired career path just as Brandon’s will.  Brandon and Alex’s proactive approach to finding their internships has served them well, but many times opportunities arise organically as in the case of Zach Lang.

“I wasn’t even looking for an internship, confesses Zach. Regardless, he still found an opportunity through SALT (Students Admission Leadership Team.)  Our former student council president was talking to Mr. Carver regarding last year’s SALT group and Nicolai Israelif, an ODA Alumnus and former member of SALT, came up in conversation.  Nicolai interned for USF admissions, a contact of Mr. Carver.  To Zach’s understanding, this internship would entail giving tours and promoting the school.  Regardless of Zach’s desired career path, this program will offer him a perfect environment to use his innate exuberance and enthusiasm.

These eager interns each managed to find a viable internship through different paths. And although they may have been able to pinpoint an internship tailored to their individual career paths or personalities, this tailored fit is not a requirement.  In fact, Mr. Woods encourages students to intern in environments “outside of their comfort zone” as to get as far away from the ODA bubble as possible.  This three-week escape from ODA has always resulted in a positive experience for our seniors, and will continue to be an important part of the ODA experience.