Working Hard Outside the Doors of Hopkinton High

Juliette Davis

By Joe Lanen

On Thursdays every other week, senior Katie Curry, an employee at Yogurt Beach, receives her paycheck, money that she’s been “so pumped” to receive all week.

“I pay for my own clothes as well as my phone bill,” she says. “My parents expect that if I want extra luxuries like that, it should be something that I pay for.”

Job opportunities for teenagers are available in a variety of interests, and Hopkinton High students take full advantage of them. Besides Yogurt Beach, students can be found working in coffee shops, after-school daycare programs, pools, retirement homes, and clothing stores.

Many students are in similar situations to Curry’s, working for their own essentials and also to save money for expenses in college. Senior Caroline Coffey, for example, works at Hopkinton Gourmet. She says she is saving “a good portion” of each of her checks to use next year.

Students also report learning various communication skills that they wouldn’t have learned without the hands-on experience of what it’s like to work.

“I work after school with kids and it’s awesome,” said Josh Martel, a counselor at an after-school program. “But I’ve definitely learned how valuable patience is when it comes to little kids, which is a perspective I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t work there.”

Senior Gabby Lockett, an employee at Marshall’s for over a year, has discovered similar benefits while working in retail.

“Customers aren’t always the nicest, and working at Marshalls has taught me to have a lot of patience,” she says.

Parents not only appreciate their children’s newly-found perspective on patience; they also appreciate the financial help from their expensive teenagers, and many express to their kids the various other values one can acquire from working in high school.

“My parents had to pay for a lot of things growing up like most teenagers do,” said senior Jenn Tomlinson, a counselor at Kidsborough, an after-school program for kids.“They said they really enjoyed being exposed to the workforce, and wanted me to understand the same principles they learned.”

According to the website of the Family Education Network, teenagers can build independence and confidence from taking on a small part-time job. Students also learn about prioritizing certain responsibilities and expectations in their lives.

“I lifeguard all summer and work an average of 30 hours a week to save up money for the next school year,” said senior Will Karpenski, a lifeguard at a Hopkinton Pool.“I play sports during the year, so I have to put in time for that, and also my academics and social life.”

Karpenski also mentioned the importance of prioritizing his commitments during the school year.

“Although I’d love some extra money during the school year, it’s important to me that my grades stay up,” he says.

Senior Jeff Foster, an employee at the assisted living facility Golden Pond, agrees. “Juggling work isn’t always the easiest thing to do,” said Foster. “I played football this past fall, and going to practice, working at a retirement home, preparing my college applications, and having down-time with friends was not an easy task,” he said.

Learning patience, responsibility, how to balance multiple time commitments, and the value of a dollar, Hopkinton High students who take on a part-time job continue their pursuit of becoming a well-rounded person, one shift at a time.

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