Developing Career Interests
Internships help students gain real-life experience.
There are many benefits to engaging in an internship during high school: discovering what you like and dislike; developing real-world skills; interacting with adults in a work environment; building your resume; strengthening college and job applications; to name just a few. While many high schoolers take on internships during the summer, some can work it into their high school schedule.
Such is the case at Eagle Hill School, where students can enroll in a full array of art courses and Cultural Center internships to gain hands-on experience. Through these yearlong internships, students receive course credit and a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of a professional arts venue, The Center at Eagle Hill.
Two different internships are offered yearly through this program, focused on Arts Management and Technical Theatre. Arts Management interns help to publicize and market events, assist in managing the operations of a professional box office, and gain a broad understanding of the arts administration field. Technical Theatre interns manage and run the state-of-the-art theatrical lighting, sound, and rigging systems of the Archipley Cultural Center for both school and professional visiting productions. In both focuses, students are given tremendous responsibility and ownership of their work, and many choose to further their studies after leaving Eagle Hill.
Technical Theatre interns manage and run the state-of-the-art theatrical lighting, sound, and rigging systems of the Archipley Cultural Center for both school and professional visiting productions.
One student has worked through the Technical Theatre internship program for the past four years. Since starting in the program as a freshman, Ashton C. ’23 has fully immersed himself in the workings of the Archipley Cultural Center. Now a senior, you can find him somewhere in the building on any given afternoon – focusing lights in the Abby, setting up for events in the Dining Commons and Kresge Theatre, and maintaining our theatrical equipment.
“He showed up as a very eager, wide-eyed ninth grader, with some knowledge of sound and lighting, but not too much knowledge of a working professional theatre,” says Carl Mercier, EHS teacher and Artistic Director of The Center at Eagle Hill. “He devoured information. Some of his knowledge of our lighting board has surpassed my knowledge, which, as an educator, it is thrilling to work with somebody who was so hungry for it.”
We sat down with Ashton to ask him a couple of questions about his experience as a Technical Theatre intern over the years:
Q: How did you get involved in the art department and the internship program?
A: “So, it started way before here, at another theater local to me. I always liked it. I always enjoyed doing it. When I came to Eagle Hill, I wanted to do something similar, and they had a program called tech theatre; that’s what my advisor said. He said it’s something I might enjoy. So, I took that class and kept taking it and taking it because I really enjoy doing it now.”
Q: What are your favorite parts of the internship?
A: “Just getting to do this stuff that I enjoy doing. And helping other people learn from me.”
Q: Are there any parts of the internship you don’t like?
A: “Nothing, really. I mean, I enjoy everything.”
Q: What are the most important skills a Tech Intern should have?
A: “Good manners when working with people. Especially when these [professional] companies come to our theatre, talking to them and getting them comfortable is important.”
Q: How has the internship program helped you grow as a student?
A: “It has. It definitely has; I know that for a fact. Like getting on stage…this is why I’m doing the musical this year. I kept watching from behind the scenes and wanted to be even more involved.”
Q: What are your current plans for after Eagle Hill?
A: “Currently, I am planning on an electrician apprentice program. And then I’m also thinking about volunteering at another theater, because I have to keep doing this, I enjoy doing this.”
Q: Do you have any advice for students considering the internship program?
A: “Try it. See if you like it. Just go with it and try new things.”
Many students, like Ashton, have benefitted from working in the Archipley Cultural Center, some finding a new passion to explore. In addition, internship opportunities for students to discover new interests continue beyond the theater. For example, students interested in sports management and related fields may enroll in internships working with our athletic director and athletic trainer.