A-School Opts for a Non-Traditional Internship Experience


Gabriella Arovas

This year, the administration reimagined the annual tradition of January A-School internships to make sure that everyone was staying safe and following protocol. Some students, such as Gabriella Arovas ’23, participated in passion projects for cooking and baking.

Flora Zik

January A-school internships are a tradition that draws many people into the program. The opportunity gives students a chance to spend a month gaining experience working in the real world instead of going to school every day. Students often work in schools, offices, hospitals, or even commute into Manhattan. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it difficult for many students in the A-school to attend an on-site internship this year. Although it’s not the traditional year, the A-school teachers and administration are working hard to adapt. Now reduced to three-weeks, students have the option to select a remote internship, passion project, or an on-site internship as long as they follow safety precautions. 

While the school faced a challenge planning internships, switching to passion projects was not unheard of for the A-School.  “[The A-School] always has a senior project which is similar to senior options, and it used …a research project or a building project,” explained Jeanne Cooper, the Internship Coordinator at the A-School. “Several years ago, we realized that… seniors were not getting full internships because they had so many high school classes,” added Cooper about the reason the A-School offers the option for a senior passion project or internship. Cooper also faced challenges getting approval from the administration for off-site internships amid the pandemic, but the “administration did agree.”

Gabriella Arovas ‘23 is currently experiencing her first year in the A-School program at SHS and completing a passion project on cooking. “I was planning on doing an internship, but at the last minute, my internship fell through. I picked cooking as a backup,” explained Arovas. On the days where Arovas does not have school in the morning or the afternoon, she would wake up a little later than school hours and work on her passion project for around 5 hours. When she does have school in the mornings or afternoons, Arovas fits her passion project in between her classes and will continue for a couple of hours after school. Even though a passion project might not have been her first choice, she has still had a lot of fun and learned a great deal. 

Sophie Brenner ‘23 is also undergoing her first year at the A-School and was lucky enough to plan an online internship working at Westchester Children’s Museum. “I decided to do this because I enjoy art, and as a kid, I loved going to the children’s museum near me. Covid has affected my choice on what to do for an internship because it was a lot more difficult to find a place that I wanted to intern at and would be able to intern virtually or in-person at, so there were a lot fewer options,” explained Brenner. “I [had] access to different parts of the company like their Youtube, Facebook,” she added. Brenner has biweekly meetings with her internship advisor and enjoyed the experience, but she does wish she could have done a traditional on-site internship. “ I would have loved to be on site for internship and [be] more hands-on, but very few people were able to find internships that were in-person,” said Brenner. 

Although passion projects and remote internships are innovative solutions, Cooper does not plan on offering the option in future years. “Some of the goals of the internship are to have students go out into the wider world and… learn to have to be responsible for something where it has an impact on someone else if they don’t meet their responsibilities, explained Cooper. “For a lot of students, the commuting aspect is a… interesting learning aspect,” Cooper added. Some students who go into Manhattan experience taking the train and subway every day to get to work.

The A-School staff, administration, and students have all worked hard to create an internship-like experience during this trying year, and overall, have done an admirable job at doing so. Even so, they cannot wait to return to the experience of students working and learning at an in-person internship.