East Rockaway seniors present internships


East Rockaway High School held its seventh annual Senior Seminar Job Fair on May 29, where students showcased their internships or projects they completed in the second half of the year to classmates, teachers, administrators and parents.

The students invited their mentors and presented those in attendance with certificates of appreciation. Teachers Russell Pajer and Ginny Sievers supervised the 30 students enrolled in the program and helped them with resume writing, interviewing skills.

The senior Seminar program gives the students an opportunity to spend two-and-a-half hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in a field that interests them in hopes of finding out what they would like to pursue in college.

“You get to put them in a situation that they’ll never be able to get into if it wasn’t for the program,” said Pajer, who teaches the business part of the program. “It gives the students a chance to see what’s out there and what they like to do.”

Olivia Schmidt interned in the city with Kimberly Butler Photography and was able to attend photo shoots with singer/songwriter Taylor Swift and Colin Firth. “I learned how to properly act when you’re on a shoot,” she said was an important lesson she learned from the program. “With celebrities you have to act calm.”

Through the program, she said, she reaffirmed her love of photography and will be taking classes at Nassau Community College next year. Others, like Kevin Blessington, learned that they were not as interested in the field as they once thought.

Blessington interned at Duffy & Duffy, PLLC. in Uniondale, where he mostly did paperwork, depositions and wrote press releases. “It was good for me to know this may not be the field I want to go into,” he said. Blessington will be attending SUNY Maritime to study criminal justice and hopes to one day become a police officer.

Some students, such as Tiffani Parente, had no idea what they wanted to study in college. The program helped her find an interest in physical therapy after interning at Peak Performance. She was able to help create exercises and treat patients at Peak Performance. “As soon as I got this internship and the mentor that I got and the experience I got from this opportunity definitely made me want to pursue a career in physical therapy,” she said.

Some students interned at East Rockaway High School and elementary schools and taught physical education, some taught technology classes and another taught a music class while others worked in nurses’ offices. One student worked in the maternity ward at South Nassau Communities Hospital, while another interned at the Rebecca Center for Music Therapy at Molloy College.

For Sievers, a big thing that the students learn from the program is accountability, like getting to work on time and being responsible for their own transportation, however, the most important lesson students learn is about themselves. “I think they learn about themselves,” she said. “I don’t think it’s anything that I can teach them.”