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Mentorship class teaches students valuable life lessons

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The nine-student Gifted Mentorship class just completed its second-semester internships  throughout Atlanta.

Calculus teacher and gifted program coordinator Andrew Nichols teaches the class, which started in 2015.   

With an average of five to 12 students, and a maximum of 15 students, the first semester is school-based and the second semester sends students on internships throughout the city.

“In [the] first semester we work on professional job readiness skills like time management, resume writing, interview skills,” Nichols said. “We do career exploration, and students build their resume and start writing cover letters. They actually start in December, seeking their own internships. ”Students wrote a research paper on a topic of their choice and took a career aptitude test at the beginning of the first semester to gauge what their interests were to generate a list of possible matching internships. “

“I was in the graphic design class here at Grady, and since I’m interested in that, I wanted to do my internship on something related to graphic design,” junior Mia Wood said. “Also, after taking the aptitude test, it told me things I’m naturally good at and certain skills that I excel in. I researched graphic design agencies in Atlanta and decided that that was what I wanted to do my internship on.”

The second semester consisted of students interning and preparing for their end of semester presentation. January is spent looking for internship opportunities and interviews. By February, students are expected to have secured an internship, and the rest of February and March are spent working as an intern.

“In April, we have a capstone event where all the interns from across the district get together and present their experiences as interns,” Nichols said. “They do those presentations with an audience of adults who kind of evaluate their presentation skills and get a chance to get some feedback. Students can continue their internships in April and May if their internship supervisors agree.”

Not only does interning help students acquire different skill sets that can only be developed by working in the “real world,”  it also helps students build connections with professionals in the fields they are interested in.

“One of my dad’s friends works for GTRI, Georgia Tech Research Institute, which involved technology — something I’m interested in,” junior Reed Fazenbaker said. “I was able to reach out to him and see what that kind of job was about and intern there.”

The internship program allows students are able to delve deeper into topics they are interested in that are not offered or focused on at Grady.

“It was really cool because I got to meet a lot of people and could see what it would be like to work in a certain field,” Wood said. “So, after doing it, I think that graphic design is something that I would be interested in as a career. It was just a good way to get introduced to having a real job and communicate with people. It’s just a great experience to have and put on college resumes.”

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Mentorship class teaches students valuable life lessons