Sunday, June 16, 2024

Every Thursday, from the beginning of February until the end of May, each member of the senior class at Community Charter School of Cambridge goes not to school, but to work, as part of the CCSC Senior Internship Program.

This year, students are at the side of the titans of technology, including at Akamai and Google, at top universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts and Northeastern University and at Cambridge cornerstones such as Kendall Press, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House and Harvard Square Business Association.

“Our business partners provide our seniors with the opportunity for a valuable and enriching pre-college internship experience,” said Caleb Hurst-Hiller, head of CCSC’s Upper School. “These internship experiences help prepare CCSC students for post-secondary success and productive citizenship. More importantly, they give our students a unique ‘real world’ experience that few other high school seniors in the nation can match.”

The Senior Internship Program is challenging: As a requirement for high school graduation, it means students must spend a minimum of 100 hours at their internship site, keep a journal of their experiences and write reflective essays about their work experience. The essays will be shared with classmates and others at the end of the program. Students are also required to formally present the specific project on which they have worked at an open forum where they are judged by community members, faculty and staff.

“Students in this program are not standing at a copy machine or getting coffee for their mentors,” explained Paula Evans, Head of School. “Our business partners are required to involve the students in projects and programs that benefit the organization and the students themselves.”

Program partners include Akamai, Google, SCVNGR, Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, The Civic Education Project, Mattapan Community Health Center, Kendall Press, Northeastern University, College Bound Dorchester, East End House, MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences, Draper Laboratory’s prototype lunar hopping vehicle project, The Museum of Science,  The Harvard Square Business Association, Tufts University, Community Development Corporation of Boston, Food for Free, Cambridge Landscaping, The Cambridge-Ellis School, Partners in Health, Boston Medical Center, Davis Square Dental Associates and Emerson College’s WERS-FM.

“Although he’s still somewhat limited by his lack of a technical background (no slight on him, given that typically this background requires four years of engineering school to obtain), he’s done very well in addressing the subject matter,” said one employer of the assigned intern.

Another said the intern “whizzed through the initial projects we had planned for her (we were impressed)!”

Located in the heart of Kendall Square, Community Charter School of Cambridge is one of the area’s premier college preparatory middle and high school programs. A Commonwealth School, it is a tuition-free public charter school, accepting students from Cambridge, Boston and surrounding towns. For information, call (617) 354-0047 or go to ccscambridge.org.

Justin T. Martin is chief communications officer for the Community Charter School of Cambridge. He can be reached at [email protected].