The Working Class

Lea Porotov, Editor in Chief

High school is around the time when many students start looking for jobs, and thankfully, there are a wide range of opportunities for teens hoping to work during the summer. Jobs allow students to develop valuable skills that are vital for success in the “real world” such as time management and financial responsibility. I interviewed a few current students who held jobs this summer to hear about their experiences. 

Lilianne Simons, a junior, began her job as a Starbucks barista at the beginning of March, just a few days after her sixteenth birthday. Over the summer, she worked a maximum of 25 hours per week and plans to continue her employment throughout the school year, adjusting her work hours and schedule to make room for school work and other activities. Working as a barista proves to be far more than pouring coffee, as Lilianne’s list of responsibilities includes making drinks, warming food, taking orders, working the drive through, washing dishes, cleaning the store and the bathrooms, and keeping the materials up front in stock. Though the workload seems tough, Lilianne comments that the job was much easier than she had expected, saying, “My manager is very understanding with hours, and will only schedule you for when you’re available. It is also relatively easy to find coverage for shifts, as all the baristas know one another’s phone numbers and are in regular communication.” Holding a job requires one to be accountable and responsible, and Lilianne lists the skills she learned from her job, saying, “I’ve become more fiscally responsible, and learned how to handle extremely rude people in customer service. Of course, I’ve learned many things about coffee and espresso, and can make a delicious latte.” 

Junior Isabella Gioia, who competes on the Lower Moreland swim team, has put her skills into action by securing a job as a lifeguard at the Willow Grove YMCA (a job she began last spring) and the Bryn Athyn Swim club, where she has worked for three consecutive summers. Isabella works 25 hours a week monitoring pools, locker rooms, and bathrooms, and enforcing pool policy rules. She must complete 60 hours of lifeguard training annually which includes renewing her CPR/AED/First Aid/and Oxygen certification, treading water, and retrieving a 10lb brick from the deep end of the pool. Isabella recounts a time when her quick thinking saved a life, saying, “In July, I reacted quickly to an emergency situation including the rescue of a 4 year old child who began violently splashing and sinking, jumped in, and brought him to safety.” Juggling two jobs seems difficult, but Isabella was given her schedules at least a week prior and would usually get one schedule before the other, meaning she could adjust her work days accordingly. “If there was a conflict,” she says, “I either put the shift on the trade board or contacted my managers. Everyone is usually very understanding!”

These are just two examples of the jobs that high schoolers can hold. From keeping people safe in the pool to brewing coffee, there are a wide range of opportunities for students looking to earn some money.