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Holladay Journal

Olympus students learn work skills in internship program

Apr 30, 2022 10:57AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Hallie Zimmerman and Hallee Chamberlain of Olympus worked as interns and learned about physical therapy in the TOSH room at the school. (Courtesy Olympus High School)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

When Paul Arkilo’s family moved to Utah from Venezuela two years ago, the last thing he thought he’d been doing as a student at Olympus High is teaching his fellow students. But because of the internship program at Olympus, Arkilo was able to “try out” teaching as a career and see if it was a good fit for him.

“I had a hole in my class schedule and talked with my counselor to see if there was anything other than a traditional class I could do during that time,” Arkilo said.  

His counselor asked about his interests and told him about the internship program.

“I’d wanted to teach, but I’d also been thinking about doing something in the field of nutrition,” Arkilo said.

It was fine that, like many students, Arkilo hadn’t decided what he wants to do for a career. The point of the internship is to try things out. If a student leaves a position realizing that they don’t want that career, that’s a win, too.

“Say a student takes hospitality classes at school and thinks they want to be in that industry. We could get them an internship somewhere like the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake.

“They would intern there for 40 hours. At the end they might think, ‘Yes, that’s for me,’ or, ‘No, I didn’t like that.’ Either outcome is good because now they save time and money and sharpen their focus,” said Erin Gubler, Internship Development Specialist at Olympus.

In Arkilo’s case, his counselor considered his Spanish (his native language) and English skills. He became an intern at Olympus teaching AP Spanish with teacher Mike Kraniski.

“I really liked it. Mr. Kraniski and I talked about the lesson plans. We took turns teaching. It was strange to be in a position of authority with my peers, but I think they respected me because I knew the subject,” Arkilo said.

Arkilo enjoyed the energy in the classroom, and it helped him see education from the other side. Now it’s easier for him to approach his teachers if he has questions.

Kraniski loved the experience. “The internship program is truly incredible. Paul, as I always say, is an inspiration and the best of the best as a person, future educator and student,” Kraniski said. 

Gubler and Olympus counselor Susannah Wixom coordinate the internship program. Students must have taken a CTE content class and be a junior or senior. Then they attend an orientation.

During the course, they are paired with a mentor at a business. They create a LinkedIn account and do 40 hours of onsite work. When it’s over, they give a presentation about their experience.   

“If a student needs an internship in education like Paul [Arkilo], that’s easy. We have students that have internships at Rosecrest Elementary and Driggs Elementary,” Gubler said.

“We’d really like to have a variety of businesses let our students do internships with them. We’ve had great experiences with local companies like the JSMB and Intermountain Healthcare’s TOSH room at Olympus,” Gubler said.

TOSH gave Hallee Chamberlain and Hallie Zimmerman physical and sports therapy internships. Chamberlain posted a picture of the two of them doing their jobs. 

“This is the TOSH room at Olympus High school…where injuries are evaluated and treated. I love that I get to learn new things every day and intern in something I am very interested in doing as a career!” Chamberlain wrote.

Kate Richards did an internship with second-grade teacher Jessica Gygi at Rosecrest Elementary.

“I have been helping the students with their class assignments and made connections with the kids. That has been my favorite part. I loved every second of my internship,” Richards said.

Internship connections also benefit the school and can directly shape curriculum.  

“One of our partners Jerry Glaser at Revo Technologies in Murray gave us amazing feedback about what was going on in the IT world. He told us what was most helpful for a student’s background. Now our computer science class is a better fit to train students,” Wixom said.

“We love to have businesses partner with Olympus High, and we think it’s a benefit to the business, too. Students who intern make connections and are better prepared to enter the work force,” Wixom said.

Other businesses that worked with Olympus include Jiffy Lube, BMW repairs department and preschools.

“These are great students, and I know we have a great future coming up in them. Please contact us if your business is interested in giving our students an internship,” Gubler said. “If you can accommodate it, we can make it happen.”