written by LANNAN M. O’BRIEN, May 30, 2014

Each time Mashpee High School senior Alyssa N. Farren, 18, assisted Mashpee Police Department officers Meredith Allen and Lisa Hettinger during her School-to-Career project this year, she was excited to discover what the day would bring.

“I learned that this career can be demanding but it is different every day,” she wrote in a summary of her experience. Alyssa and her nine classmates in the School-to-Career program at MHS submitted written answers to questions about their decisions to participate in the program and what they have learned as a result.

The School-to-Career program, run by business and technology teacher Carol Riley, is an internship program that students can choose as an alternative to completing a senior project. This year, 10 students participated in the program, for which they were required to apply to a position of their choice and work with a supervisor for 10 hours a week over a 13-week period.

While Alyssa learned through her internship that the job of a police officer “is not a normal 9-to-5,” she said that each of the officers in the department enjoy their work and would not change it for anything.

“I cannot wait to pursue my career in this field and the internship I had just made me even more ready for the years to come,” she wrote of her experience.

Alyssa was not the only School-to-Career student who chose to work with the police department—her classmate Joseph P. Williams, 18, was working beside her under the supervision of Officer Joseph Catanese.

Every week, Joseph said that he rode with various police officers in their cruisers, checking buildings where security alarms had rung and running the license plates of drivers they pulled over.

“Sometimes, the person I was with had to bring people down to the station in the same car, which was kind of awkward, especially if you knew [the person],” he wrote.

However, he added that the experience taught him a lot about respect.

“Respect is a huge thing with police officers. If you give officers respect, they are going to give it back and depending on the situation you are in, they will most likely do their best to help you out,” he wrote. “They aren’t out there to get you in trouble unless you are doing something to get [yourself] in trouble, they are out there to help and protect people and make sure people are doing the right thing.”

Another student, Kellie J. Dionne, 18, was inspired to become a health unit coordinator after completing an internship at the North Falmouth Outpatient Surgery Center, the outpatient center of Falmouth Hospital.

“While [interning] at the North Falmouth Outpatient Surgery Center, I learned so much about health care, from networking to diseases,” Kellie wrote.

During her internship, she said that she learned about insurance, scheduling appointments, handling medical records and organizing nursing packets, ordering office and medical supplies, and communicating with various departments and offices.

After graduating, Kellie will study general business management at Potomac State College of West Virginia for two to four years, before transferring to another school to earn her master’s degree in health care management. She plans to become certified as a health unit coordinator while studying for her master’s degree.

Published in Mashpee Enterprise, May 30, 2014