HomeEditors' PicksCHS students seek enriching summer opportunities

CHS students seek enriching summer opportunities

Published June 5, 2024

When junior Erin Ikemiya first signed on to work for CUSD’s elementary summer school, she had no idea that she would discover a passion that she is looking to turn into a career. Now hoping to become an elementary school teacher, Ikemiya joins a number of other CHS students choosing to enrich their summer through job opportunities, internships and travel, with the hopes of broadening their horizons as well as preparing for life after graduation.

Junior Erin Ikemiya (right, seated) works with students at Captain Cooper through CUSD’s elementary summer school program, alongside CMS Industrial Arts teacher Matt Ishler. (courtesy of ERIN IKEMIYA)

Whether it be junior Alyssa Moore’s internship with the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy or a tap dance convention in Georgia like sophomore Julius Dutta, students in all grades at CHS choose to utilize their summer break to pursue their interests. 

Junior Layla Viel is looking to optimize her own summer by reconnecting with her French heritage and gaining real-life work experience in both France and Poland. 

“I see it as a way to further immerse myself within the culture and keep up with the language,” says the travel enthusiast, who plans on attending school in Brittany over the month-long period that French schools stay in session during the summer. “Having that connection with my family is important to me, and this is a way that I can build upon that.”

Accompanied by fellow CHS junior Nicole Mirski, Viel also hopes to gain work experience during her time in Europe by shadowing a kinesiologist for a professional soccer team in Brittany, serving as an introduction to the medical field that she eventually hopes to join after graduation. Visiting Mirski’s extended family in Poland for the second part of the summer, the pair will also spend time working with Polish and Ukrainian preschool children, an experience that Viel hopes will give her further exposure to new cultures and ideas.

Juniors Layla Viel and Nicole Mirski (from left) will be spending the vast majority of their summer in Europe, from attending school in France to working at a preschool in Poland. (courtesy of NICOLE MIRSKI)

Similarly pursuing work experience over the summer, Ikemiya will be continuing her time working with CUSD’s elementary summer school by assisting teachers this June at Carmel River School. 

“I genuinely enjoy doing this,” says the junior, who has spent previous summers at Carmel Middle School, Tularcitos Elementary School and Captain Cooper Elementary School. “This program made me realize that I want to work with elementary kids because I don’t feel like it’s work.”

The primary focus of the summer school program is the enrichment of young minds, incorporating art, physical education, reading and writing with the aim of keeping kids going on their academic path rather than catching them up. Working for a few hours a day during the school week for the entire month of June, Ikemiya has assisted art teachers throughout the district including CHS art teacher Steven Russell and CMS industrial arts teacher Matt Ishler.

The talented artist dedicates almost half her summer in order to put some work experience under her belt in preparation for her dream career in elementary education, as well as to make a difference in the lives of the young children she works with every day.

With the eventual goal of pursuing a career in chemistry, junior Tommy Gardner is looking to intern for the wastewater treatment facility in order to apply what he’s learned in the classroom to the real world. (courtesy of TOMMY GARDNER)

Another junior hoping to further potential career options over the summer, Tommy Gardner is looking to intern at the wastewater treatment facility. Usually reserved for college students, this internship program only started recruiting CHS students this year, allowing passionate STEM students to watch and learn and even complete some hands-on assignments as the four weeks progress

“I was inspired to pursue this because I took AP Chemistry this year,” explains Gardner, who eventually hopes to secure a career in chemistry, “and I heard that the [wastewater treatment plant] has opportunities in the lab. I am interested in seeing what I learned in the classroom used in real life.”

Gardner is accompanied by a number of other CHS students who are all hoping to utilize their summer breaks to gain a better understanding of where their interests lie as well as to build on their credentials and experience in the fields they hope to pursue.

“It’s good for teenagers to get real-life experience before college,” Ikemiya says. “This can be the perfect time for students to find their passions and pursue them.”


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