By: LANNAN M. O’BRIEN, June 18, 2014

Recent Mashpee High School graduate Kristen N. Tavares, 18, learned the challenges of running a business while interning with her family’s landscaping company, Francisco Tavares, Inc., for her School-to-Career class this year.

“I learned that running a company is extremely stressful and that I never gave my father enough credit for everything he has to deal with on a daily basis,”  she wrote in a report of her experience to the Enterprise. Kristen and her classmates submitted answers to questions about their school-to-career internships for the newspaper. “I learned that this business is all about people-pleasing and keeping people happy no matter what.”

She added that seeing a proposed design “come to life” through the hard work of employees was a rewarding experience.

The school-to-career program is an internship program accompanied by a class on obtaining a job and working professionally. Seniors must complete either a senior project or the school-to-career program to graduate. 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.

For her internship, Kristen was responsible for calculating the amount of material needed for various projects; visiting job sites with her supervisor, project manager Jonathon Searles; sitting in on meetings with builders and clients; delivering materials to job sites; and completing tasks such as filing paperwork, running machinery, mixing and screening loam, and cleaning the shop.

However, there was one obstacle that the intern found difficult to overcome: being a female in a male-dominated industry.

“There’s still that stereotype out there that females, especially in this male-dominated industry, can’t do or don’t know as much as the men,” she wrote. “I’m a petite woman, so men wouldn’t really expect me to be able to lift 80-pound bags of concrete mix or operate heavy machinery, but they were pleasantly surprised when they saw that I can.”

Her classmate, 18-year-old Cameron M. Murphy, decided to “get his feet wet” in the mechanics industry by interning at Cape Auto Repair in Sandwich.

“My favorite thing about School-to-Career was that I got to work on my own cars,” he wrote to the Enterprise. “When my car needed something done to it, [owner Eric York] would just schedule me in for a day and then I got to fix my car myself.”

Cameron said that he chose an internship in the automotive industry because he is “fascinated by everything with a motor,” and his experience reinforced his desire to pursue a related career.

Under the supervision of Mr. York, he completed work on cars, such as changing oil and replacing wheel bearings, ball joints, and valve cover gaskets.

Cameron was recently hired at the Arc of Cape Cod in Hyannis—an organization that works to secure opportunities for residents with developmental disabilities—and in his free time, enjoys riding dirt bikes and ATVs, fixing cars, and playing sports. The graduate plans to attend the Universal Technical Institute in the fall.


Published in the Mashpee Enterprise: June 18, 2014