One of my students, Sarah, is a Senior this year, and graduating. As part of our Senior year program at Nordonia, students may elect to conduct an internship that they arrange. Each internship and placement is supervised by a staff member to make sure all is well. Sarah asked me to be her mentor for the internship, and I graciously accepted.
Sarah has been one of my top students in the last three years at Nordonia, and one of the students that has really made teaching worthwhile. She would ask challenging questions already in her Sophomore year, and really invest herself in her studies. When I had her in my Economics course, the astute thinking continued, and she left that class well prepared for any economics on college level. Most recently, Sarah asked to be a student aid in my classroom, and of course I accepted. If I could have hired her full time, I would have. Needless to say, Sarah is one of those students that you’ll always remember, and hope they keep in contact over the years.
Sarah’s plans are to study zoology at Kent State University, and to work with animals in some shape or form as a career. As such, she has prepared herself by taking challenging coursework at the high school, scoring well in her AP Biology course and other science classes. Now, here’s the best part. She arranged her internship at a pet cemetery!
Thinking she would work with the establishment’s kennel, and perhaps in the attached grooming salon, Sarah set out with great vigor to attend her first day. When she stopped back to tell how her experience was going, she had found out some of the other things that happen at a pet cemetery, like cremation, burial, etc. Needless to say, as a zoology professional later in life, she would have encountered the end-of-life for her charges either way at some point, so why not get it over with.
As part of the internship program, we, the staff members and mentors, are encouraged to take an active role ourselves, with phone calls to the establishment, follow up conversations, and site visits. I decided to go visit last week, and because I love learning new stuff myself, asked for the full tour. It’s not every day you get a chance to visit a pet cemetery.
Sarah’s internship is at Paws Awhile Pet Memorial Park, and they provide services that range from cremation, burial, kennel, and grooming salon, among others. Located in Richfield, OH, they provide service for a broad range of veterinarians, and animal hospitals when it comes to cremations, and is open to the public for pet burial, etc. Joe, the owner, took us on a tour of the place, including the memorial park where animals are buried and marked with plaques, to the cremation station, the vault display room, and the kennel and grooming salon. Joe started his entrepreneurial side early in life, making and selling speakers at the age 18, then moving on to wholesaling diamonds out of New York, to finally, after purchasing the 23 acres in Richfield, opening up a pet memorial.
Part of the internship asks the students to essentially work for no pay, and to learn as much as they can. The program is designed so students get an idea of what it might be like working at a place that may be in their field of interest. A testament as to how well Sarah was picking up all the details of the job, when I arrived for my visit, she instinctually said “Yeah, we’re cooking a dog right now.” Yikes!
“Yeah, we’re cooking a dog right now.”
– Sarah L.
We concluded our visit with some chit chat by the grooming salon, and I asked a few follow-up questions about the place, the internship, and in general, made sure things had been going okay. Of course, Sarah had been the model candidate, and the owner even offered Sarah some work over the summer, should she desire it. High marks, judging by anyone’s standards.
Sarah will make a presentation in front of parents, teachers and administrators next week as part of the internship program, and I’m sure she’ll wow anyone in attendance. I wish her the best of luck in the future, and hope she’ll come back often to visit, filling me in on her continued education and life experiences. I have truly enjoyed working with her as a student, and recently mentor. Any future employer will be ten-fold better off after she arrives!
If you want to contact Sarah for any reason, I have her information. Feel free to contact me directly.