• Audrey Long

GHS Senior Options Program Makes a Comeback

During these uncertain times, many annual events and opportunities were adapted to work within the parameters of COVID-19. One GHS program was altered to fit the needs of the pandemic, and this will improve the program going forward: the GHS senior internship program.

In any typical year, almost all of the Greenwich High senior class chooses to complete a project or attend an internship. In years past, most students chose to complete the senior internship, as, according to students, that option usually was more engaging, and students felt that it provided a unique glimpse into life after high school. GHS senior Hadley Rosenberg is excited about the internship opportunity this year, as she thinks it will be useful to her in the future.

She said about her internship at a local hedge fund, “I'm grateful for the opportunity to gain work experience in a new field before graduating.” Typically, GHS has a large database of internships available. Students actively seek out their own internship or are placed in one by the school.

However, during COVID-19, the GHS senior internship process proved to be very different compared with years past. For starters, many of the companies and businesses that hired interns in previous years no longer wanted to have many people in their workspace due to the virus. As a result, only about 10 out of the original 300+ internship opportunities from years prior were willing to accept GHS interns in 2021. Some students were upset by this and still wanted the chance to have this crucial opportunity to learn and grow as they reached the end of high school.

The GHS career counseling team came to a consensus: they decided to give all GHS seniors the opportunity to choose between finding an internship or self-designing their own project. The GHS senior class was fairly split on these choices.

Students who chose to alter the internship opportunity were faced with a challenge. In the past, many local businesses in Greenwich were eager to take on interns, including the Greenwich Film Festival, the fire departments, Greenwich Hospital, the elementary and middle schools, the Greenwich Free Press, etc. Students had to get creative and search for ways that they could safely intern during this pandemic.

For some, the decision was easy. Many students turned to their parents for help, with several interning at their parents’ work or assisting family members. Others found themselves looking far and wide for opportunities. Rosenberg, the GHS senior working at a local hedge fund, chose to intern virtually.

Rosenberg said, “While I'll be interning for a local hedge fund (most likely virtually), many of my friends are coming up with creative project ideas and finding job opportunities, and everyone seems excited for these new experiences outside of the classroom.”

On another note, GHS senior Allison Sobieri chose to complete a senior project with her friend Martina Phelan. Sobieri and Phelan decided on dissecting a cat for their senior project--an opportunity that, in a typical year, they would have completed in their AP Biology class. According to Sobieri, she decided to complete a project instead of an internship, because of the lack of internship opportunities during the pandemic.

She said, “When I clicked through the internship site, a lot of companies from last year didn’t confirm offering internships this year,” and added, “In a normal year, I would have looked more seriously at internships, but it was hard to know what the world was going to look like at this point!” Sobieri is looking forward to the chance of dissecting a cat for her senior project, and she’s excited to pursue her interest in biology (and potential dislike of felines) this June.

In a turn of events, the pandemic might have actually helped better the GHS internship/project program. According to Alison Lochridge, head of the internship program, these new parameters created more accountability within students and allowed them to have more flexibility during the process—they get the chance to find something on their own that they’re interested in.

Currently, the plan is to resume normal internships for the 2021-2022 school year. However, the intern program will never be the same due to changes from this year. In the future, more students will have the chance to self-design their internships, and there will be a much bigger database for internship options in the future.