Seniors Explore Careers With Senior Projects

Cody Mills worked in the City of Martinsville's Commonwealth's Attorney's Office alongside Clay Gravely (pictured here), Commonwealth's Attorney, for his Senior Project.

Cody Mills worked in the City of Martinsville’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office alongside Clay Gravely (pictured here), Commonwealth’s Attorney, for his Senior Project.

Each year as school is winding down, exams are being taken and summer plans are made, Carlisle School Seniors have an added task that is quite unique. For two weeks, they are required to work in an internship of their choice as part of their Senior Project.

“We encourage students to use the Senior Project to explore a personal interest or career path,” explained Greg Morrison, the supervising teacher of the Senior Project. “For many students, this is the first time that they will have an experience of working with adults. It gives them the experience of working on a schedule, of professional demeanour and dress, of the kinds of demands made on adults on a daily basis.”

Cody Mills, who will be attending the College of William and Mary in the fall, was offered an internship in the City of Martinsville Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.

“I had watched a lot of ‘Law and Order’ before I came in,” Mills joked, “but it’s a lot cooler than I thought. Being there first hand was so intense, so real. You get to see the good and the bad of Martinsville.”

Mills had the unique opportunity to read through current cases, giving opinions and asking questions of the attorneys in the office, and was able to attend court with the attorneys. What surprised him most, which was not apparent on the hit television series, was the challenging task of balancing multiple cases at once and the amount of paperwork for each one. Despite the challenges, his two weeks on the job only cemented his interest in pursuing a legal career in prosecution.

Lauren Martin used her Senior Project as a chance to explore the varied applications of her intended career in pharmacy at Morehead Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center in Eden, NC, a choice she made because of a family friend who died from ovarian cancer.

Each day of her project she was assigned a different position to shadow such as Pharmacist, Phlebotomist and Radiation Therapist.

Lauren Martin chose to work in the Cancer Center at Morehead Hospital to explore her intended career in Pharmacy.

Lauren Martin chose to work in the Cancer Center at Morehead Hospital to explore her intended career in Pharmacy.

In the fall she will be attending Hampton University to study Pharmacy. Her Senior Project, she said, “made me realize that helping someone else who needs it serves one of the greatest purposes in life. I would like to work someplace like the Cancer Center where I can impact someone’s life every day.”

On-site experience is not the only requirement of the Senior Project. In addition to completing 50 hours of work, students must submit a 500-word plan outlining their expectations, write a journal entry for each day of the project, thoroughly annotate 10 substantial articles relating to the subject of their project and submit a 1,000-word reflection explaining what they learned. Each student then gives a 15-minute presentation to a panel of judges, and extraordinary projects receive honors at graduation.

“It’s a sign of Carlisle’s positive reputation that many mentors volunteer to supervise projects year after year,” Morrison said. “Our students show themselves to be diligent, respectful and curious.”

Students this year have worked at Patrick Henry Community College’s Media Office, Virginia International Raceway, Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, TheatreWorks, Smith River Sports Complex and the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County among many other local businesses and organizations.