“Since I was about eight to 10 years old, I have been interested in cyber security.” Ethan Emmons (right) is one of 10 interns with the District Media and Technology Services (DMTS) department this summer.
Ethan, a sophomore at Edina High School (EHS), is in his second summer interning with DMTS. “This is a way to learn the basics about computers so I can learn the advanced stuff more easily,” he said.
“When I was in ninth grade, my Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher, Ms. Ramirez, told me about it,” said Lillian Brown (bottom left), an EHS Class of 2016 graduate. Brown is in her fourth summer as an intern. Even though she graduated in May, she decided to spend her summer with the district before starting college at the University of Minnesota Duluth this fall to study mechanical engineering.
It is a similar story for Precious Ayelomi (bottom right), an EHS junior, whose PLTW teacher, Tim Berndt, suggested the opportunity to him. “I had always wanted to learn more about how the district works,” Precious said, “and I couldn’t say no to Mr. Berndt.”
The interns were responsible for a variety of tasks, from reimaging computers to helping distribute Chromebooks at Get Connected Days. And in addition to the technical skills students learn over the summer, they also learn how to work together as a team. “Getting to know the other interns has been fun,” Lillian said. “I am a really quiet person,” Ethan added. “This has improved my speaking and collaboration skills. I already feel more confident when I have to speak in front of a class in high school.”
Precious, who looks forward to pursuing aerospace engineering after high school, said, “If you have heard about this internship and are still thinking about it, go for it. 100 percent!”
School officially ended more than two months ago, but many kids and adults have continued their learning during the summer through Community Education Services (CES) summer programming. And this year nearly 40 volunteers, most of who are Edina High School (EHS) students, have helped make it possible.
With varied experiences and interests, these volunteers were instrumental in the success of the programs they were involved with. Just as unique as their backgrounds are their experiences volunteering with CES.
Alexa Nasiedlak, an EHS sophomore (pictured below), is in her second year volunteering with CES. While it has been a few years since she attended Normandale Elementary School, she still enjoys helping out there during the summer. In fact, she volunteers with her former teacher in the Bonjour! French Camp for two weeks out of the summer, followed by two weeks with the Summer Success program.
“Volunteering makes me really happy,” she said. “Kids are so excited to be there. These little humans are going to be speaking the same second language as me, which is so cool because I know how much it helps. Doing this has actually improved my French, as well, because I need to find new ways of explaining things to kids.”
In line with his interests in computers and mechanical engineering, EHS senior Mac Wright spent his time in one of the LEGO camps offered, in which students use the classic toy in not-so-classic ways, building different machines that spin, swing and pivot.
“It’s really rewarding to develop relationships with kids,” Mac said. “I remember seeing kids who I worked with in previous camps who came up to me on the first day to say ‘Hi.’ It makes you feel wanted.”
Making sure the camps and classes he volunteers with aligned with his interests was very important to Mac. “Volunteering shouldn’t be something that you feel obligated to do,” he said. “You should try to find something that you enjoy, that will meet your interests while also helping the community.”
For Sarah Kraft, as long as she is working with kids, she is happy. “Volunteering is so fun and the kids are all super cute and nice,” the EHS senior said. Sarah has been volunteering with CES since she was a sophomore and has worked in a variety of camps every year – from sports and science to art and drama.
“In the beginning, I got involved through Edina Give and Go,” she said, “and I was just really captivated by it and kept coming back.”
Likewise, EHS sophomore Ravneet Anand finds deeper meaning in his volunteer experiences.
“I want to do something important,” he said. Once you volunteer and accomplish an hour, you see what your efforts have done. It’s a whole other feeling. It’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that you have helped people.”
“When I started I knew that you could accumulate hours and get a letter,” Ravneet said, “but the real accomplishment is inside. I want to be a part of the community in more ways. I am going to volunteer for the rest of my life.”
Thank you, Edina Public Schools family, for an incredible first year of the I Am Edina Public Schools blog!
Over the past 10 months, we have had the privilege of featuring more than 60 students, teachers, staff and community members from every site, including a rock ‘n’ roll-loving dishwasher, a classroom-hopping sixth grade language arts teacher, and a fearless fourth grader with a passion for autism awareness and Abraham Lincoln.
The blog was read more than 14,000 times and received more than 2,500 likes, comments and shares on Facebook. As we look forward to next year, we want to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com with ideas of people to feature, and thanks again for a great year.