With graduation just a few weeks away, Rye Neck High School has ensured that all seniors are ready to embark on the next journey of their lives with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. Through the school’s internship program, all members of the Class of 2017 are participating in internships for the remainder of the school year.

Karen Parisi, a social studies teacher and coordinator of the internship program, said the program provides students with an opportunity to experience a career of their choice while further exploring their interests and passions. Through the enriching experience, they’re able to learn important life lessons about responsibility and accountability, and apply their skills to real-life situations. The students have been exploring a number of fields, including medical research, physical therapy, education, real estate, architecture, engineering, public service, construction and more.

“The internship program allows students to explore an area that they would not have been exposed to in a traditional classroom setting,” Parisi said. “In addition to making new connections with people who can provide advice and guidance in future job searches, interns see what it is really like to work in a certain field. By the end of the internship, students have a clearer idea of whether they want to enter a profession and how to plan their future career goals.”

Since 1995, Rye Neck High School has been providing students with an opportunity to participate in an internship or complete an in-depth research assignment during their fourth-quarter marking period as a graduation requirement. This year, as well as last, all seniors participated in an internship of their choice.

“The program began with a handful of students and now, every senior participates in the internship program,” Parisi said. “In order to be eligible for an internship a student must be passing all classes. A student’s fourth-quarter grade in social studies and English is based on the internship assessment.”

Parisi said each student works with an internship mentor to gain professional knowledge and expertise, receive guidance and constructive feedback and complete assigned responsibilities. Throughout their internship, students are required to submit mentor evaluation forms, time sheets, an on-site interview and journal entries about their experience.