Vail Valley high schoolers sample real world |

Vail Valley high schoolers sample real world

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyBattle Mountain High School student Drew Vesey, center, with Vail Valley SOS Volunteers after a day on the hill with students

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – What do 10 Battle Mountain High School students have in common with the following Vail Valley organizations: Steadman Hawkins Clinic, SOS Outreach, East West Resorts, Howard Head, Avon Police Department, Vail Mountaineer, Artful Sol, Alpine Meadows, Joint Works and the Berry Creek Middle School art room.

A lot, actually, thanks to the newly developed, ever-popular Battle Mountain internship program currently offered to juniors and seniors as a one-trimester course that gives students an opportunity to be mentored in a career interest while gaining workplace experience.

Students work a minimum of 60 hours (90 hours, if paid) observing and learning about the requirements and nature of their career interest. The emphasis is on developing professional skills and worker qualities necessary to be successful in a career, as well as determining if it fits well with the student’s skills, interests and abilities.

Students are required to develop a professional resume, produce a career development portfolio, submit reports and summarize their experience with a final presentation.

Nicholas Hoeger, the school’s counselor and internship coordinator, says the real-world connection this program provides students with is extremely beneficial to their personal and professional growth, as well as to the community in which they live.

The goals of the program are to provide opportunities for students to identify personal skills, interests and values in order to aid in career selection, explore a specific career area of interest, gain first-hand experience the working world, work closely with a designated mentor to develop professional skills and competencies, learn about the importance of workplace ethics, connect academic learning with the real world and develop post-secondary plans in order to achieve their career goals.

Amy Cochran, parent internship volunteer, says she is excited about the progression of the program so far and the potential it has in the future.

“It takes active community involvement to make a program like this work,” she says. “We are in the process of setting up a database of businesses throughout the community that are willing to mentor students in an internship or even be shadowed for a day. Not only is it personally rewarding to see the progress your intern makes in their chosen field, but it can be extremely beneficial to your business to have an enthusiastic, trained employee ready for future part- and full-time positions.”

Senior Aaron Szindler did a music internship last year with Tony Guilizia during the spring trimester, which undoubtedly initiated his interest in another go-round this year. Music theory, playing and understanding various instruments, dissecting famous pieces and appreciation of music were a few of the highlights of Aaron’s time with this local famous musician.

Wanting to delve into the creative writing side of things, Aaron recently started an internship with Vail Mountaineer.

“In my short time at the paper, I was charged with was writing a 300-word piece on the BB King show at the Vilar Performing Arts Center that I already planned on attending, which showed up on the front-page of the Mountaineer that same week,” Aaron says.

Drew Vesey, also a senior, has been in an internship with SOS Outreach the entire year. He volunteers with kids on the mountain, helps staff prepare for training and other important meetings, assists with inventory and does data entry. Although Drew formally interned with the ever-growing, worthwhile, mentorship organization during his senior year, he has also volunteered with SOS Outreach for the past three years.

“SOS is an amazing organization that has taught me so much,” Drew says. “During all five days of ‘Learn to Ride,’ you can see people are changing through their experience. Not only is it a great organization to be a part of, but SOS has provided me with some great connections and opportunities in the future.”

For those students following a 4-year university path, an internship provides the opportunity to get real-world experience in an area of interest. College admissions emphasize the importance of showing a “depth of interest” in an area and the internship program can provide students with an edge in the application process.

In addition, an internship helps students determine their future major area of study and, conversely, assists students with eliminating areas they may not want to pursue in their future.

Battle Mountain High School is looking for professionals who are willing to speak with students regarding their professional and educational backgrounds, as well as their particular area of professional expertise. These partnerships will allow students the opportunity to be mentored, develop relationships with community members, have their questions addressed and determine their interest in a specific field. Interested parties should contact Nicholas Hoeger at or send an e-mail to

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