Back in the day, Staples High School seniors spent the last month before graduation marking time.
Stricken with severe cases of senioritis, with classes essentially over and warm weather beckoning, even the most diligent students checked out.
For nearly a decade though, Staples’ senior internship program has provided an excellent bridge between school and the real world.
Last week, over 450 soon-to-be graduates completed their 4-week internships. They worked for marketing and financial services firms; at Town Hall, the police station and in Westport schools. They helped doctors and lawyers, builders and caterers.
They got a taste of commuting, writing lesson plans, being part of a company team. They learned about punctuality and customer service; how to write business emails, answer the phone and (yes) make coffee.
I could highlight any one of 450 interns. But I chose Zach Howard and Alison Lindsey-Noble.
They interned at Aspetuck Land Trust. Part of their work was creating a video.
Together, they interviewed 3 generations of local residents. First, they asked: “What did you do for fun as a kid.”
The grandparent and parent generations talked about being outdoors: fishing, bike riding, playing games, jumping in leaves.
The youngest generation — today’s kids — mentioned video games, computers, watching TV with friends. One talked about rock climbing — the Xbox version, that is.
Asked what they can’t live without, the youngsters said Wi-Fi, technology, cell phones, and TV (“because there’s nothing else to do,” one girl added).
Zach and Alison then asked the older generations why it’s important for kids to go outside.
“To have a good relationship with the natural world,” one said. “You get a healthy perspective on life in general; how we relate to the environment.” That helps everyone make “good life decisions,” he noted.
The video ends with this message: “Aspetuck Land Trust has 45 trailed preserves available to you.”
Now, hopefully — thanks to Zach and Alison’s internship work — some kids may put down their phones, turn off their Wiis, and take a hike.
Click below to see Zach and Alison’s video.