Every year for the past 23 years, the Central Business District Association organizes an Internship Day with Princess Anne High School. On this joyous occasion, high school juniors and seniors get to miss class and spend the morning job-shadowing at a CBDA member company which aligns with their career interests. This year’s Internship Day was March 18th, and it was the biggest yet – 78 students and 33 businesses participated.
For the past three years I have had the privilege of shepherding these young minds on behalf of HBA. I suppose that means I’ve been voted “Least likely to scare the student out of becoming an Architect,” although I always give it my best shot!
After some welcoming remarks at the High School by Jeanne Evans-Cox, Executive Director of CBDA and Daniel W. Smith, PAHS Principal, I chauffeured my young charge over to HBA for a fun-filled (at least I thought so) morning of exposure to the working world. As luck would have it, my project that day was perfectly timed to necessitate some intern-level work. Thomas, our aspiring design professional, helped me conduct a typology study of environmental centers around the US, giving him some real-world experience with the beginning stages of a design project. Later, we sat in on a meeting for an auto repair center, listening to the project architect present various design concepts to a room full of clients and consulting engineers. We finished off the morning by joining the rest of the students and professionals for the CBDA luncheon, where Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani, President of Tidewater Community College, gave a very interesting keynote address. To keep the students’ attention, she incorporated survey questions into her talk and students submitted their votes by text message. It felt a bit like American Idol to me, but these tech-savvy students made me realize I’m not as “with it” as I used to be.
Although Internship Day is geared towards giving the students a glimpse into their potential future careers, I think the participating businesses share greatly in the benefit. I am continually impressed by the high caliber of students in Virginia Beach’s public high schools. Not only do they make good grades, but they excel in music, athletics, and community service, and have a diverse and fascinating range of hobbies and skill sets. Thomas participates enthusiastically in robotics club, he is skilled at modelling parts in Autodesk Inventor, and even has experience with 3D printing!
An ordinary student may look at Internship Day as a morning with no classes and a free lunch, but I have confidence that these high-achieving students will take away wisdom and real-world experience that will benefit them throughout the rest of their education and future careers. And even though they made me feel old, spending time with such ambitious and intelligent young people is a kick in the pants to keep raising the bar of the great work that we do here at HBA.