High School Student Interns Learn on the Job



Special to the Post


Ayanna Banks, an Oakland Technical High senior studying in the school’s fashion academy, said she learned a lot about time management during her internship at The Pear Tree Preschool.


<p>In order to make it to work by 8 a.m., Banks had to wake up two hours early to catch BART and then transfer to another bus. If the bus was late, so was she. To make up the lost time, Ayanna would stay late, even though she was never asked.


“It’s no one’s fault, but I would have a guilty conscience,” Banks said. “I’d know that I if didn’t do the same number of hours (each day), they’d be off.”


Banks was one of 150 OUSD students who participated in an Exploring College and Career Options (ECCO) internship and shared what they learned recently at the fourth annual Summer Demonstration of Mastery event at Scott’s Seafood in Jack London Square.


Student presentations highlighted skills they acquired during their internship, and demonstrate how they have contributed to their professional growth and career readiness. The event was also an opportunity to thank and celebrate local professional partners who graciously hosted students this summer.


De'Aunte Jackson
De’Aunte Jackson

Oakland High senior Elijah Christopher Allen learned a lot at his internship at Bay-Peace this summer. He helped organize a rally about soaring rent prices and gentrification, and he learned how important it is to authentically engage the community. He enjoyed talking to people on the street and was surprised by how friendly many people were.


“One person can’t really change the world,” Allen said. “You need a group.”


Milikia Tolliver is also an Oakland Tech fashion academy student. She spent her summer interning with Black Repertory Group, working on a summer camp production of “Annie” for kids ages 3-13.


She says working with the younger children helped her develop more patience, and managing 2-3 productions per week required a lot of organizational skills.


“It can be hard to keep track of everything,” Tolliver said. “Sometimes kids are in the wrong outfit, or they don’t remember their lines and freeze up and are looking around. And I’m on the side saying, ‘Oh, no.’”


African American, Latino and low-income students in Linked Learning school-to-career programs have graduation rates nine to 29 percentage points higher than the statewide average.


OUSD’s analysis of district programs found that academy students had fewer absences, experienced lower suspension rates, scored better on standardized tests and were more likely to pass the High School Exit Exam.


Elijah, Ayanna, and Milikia are examples of how real world, workplace experience can open doors for students, broaden their horizons, and launch them toward college, career, and community success.



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