Every fall and spring, the Middle School students at Inly School participate in Internship Week. The eighth graders spend this week off campus at a diverse array of internship host sites, which include everything from an organic farm to the Massachusetts State House.
To prepare for Internship Week, in seventh grade, Inly students participate in Project Week, a week on campus designed to prepare the students for future off-campus internships. During this week, the students complete the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, write their resumes, and begin planning for their internships.
“Middle School aged children are fascinated with their roles in the larger society and eager to explore these roles through their own participation,” Donna Milani Luther, Head of School remarks. “An important part of their exploration of the world is that they have authentic work experiences. Inly’s Internship Program was created to give students the opportunity to experience this vital aspect of adolescent exploration and development.”
This year, eighth grader, Ashley Antico, ventured all the way to the Massachusetts State House to intern in the office of Senator Robert Hedlund. Antico enjoyed the experience so much, she asked Senator Hedlund if he would be willing to visit Inly and address the Inly community about what it’s like to work in government. “I learned a lot about the day-to-day happenings in state government,” Antico said. “and I wanted to others at my school to learn about it, too.” Hedlund kindly agreed to visit the school and will be speaking to Inly’s Upper Elementary and Middle School students later this month.
Dean Chamberlin, also an eighth grader, had a very different internship experience. Chamberlin worked at Weir River Farm in Hingham, MA, tending to the farm animals, collecting the last of the tomato crops from the fields, and welcoming the many daily visitors to the farm. Of the experience, Chamberlin said, “I really enjoyed it. Working on a farm is hard work but it’s also a lot of fun.”
Charlie McDonald on air for WATD radio in MarshfieldEighth grader, Charlie McDonald, wanted to see what it would be like to work in TV or radio. He decided to intern at local radio station WATD in Marshfield, MA and while there, did everything from write and edit news articles to deliver on-air messages. “I had to wake up at 4:00 am each day to make it to the studio on time,” said Charlie, “but working at WATD Radio Station was a great experience for me. I didn’t know how much I would love working in radio until I became a part of the WATD community for a week. I’m grateful that Inly gave me the opportunity to pursue my interests and now I can see myself working somewhere like WATD later in life.”
Abby Park was also interested in TV and radio and joined the crew of Scituate TV for the week to see what it was like to work on local programming. While there, Park worked on local stories, filmed video footage around the town, and researched and wrote a script for a public service announcement. “I found this experience to be very exciting,” Park said, “Inly has given me so many opportunities that other schools don’t offer, and the Middle School internship program is by far one of the best opportunities.”
Inly’s Montessori educational program leads each student naturally to the world of work that they will experience during their internship. From the youngest age, a Montessori student’s activities in the classroom are referred to as “work,” and each child is given substantial independence. They are also taught that they are accountable for thorough completion of what they set out to do. Relatedly, at school, they develop many productive relationships with adults, including their teachers, the school administrators, and many parents, most of whom they are comfortable addressing by their first names. Inly Middle School Director, Tschol Slade, says, “The Internship Program is designated to give Middle School students further experience being supervised by adults, accomplishing important work, and meeting adults’ expectations.”
A key component of the Inly Middle School curriculum, internships are a great reminder about how important it is for adolescents to be authentically exposed to the larger society they will enter. Amid all the tumult, inconsistency and insecurity, it is valuable to remember that they can do more than is typically expected when given the chance and proper support.