In August, Fort Smith Public Schools rolled out a new internship program to give students “real world” experience in professional fields of their interest.
Students must apply and be accepted to the program. They each earn 180 hours of work experience each semester. They are evaluated at the end of the semester by the employer.
We want to introduce you to some of these bright young students:
Kierra Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Northside, interns for Chronister, Fields & Flake in Fort Smith.
She spends morning hours copying, filing and answering phones while learning the ins and outs of working in a law firm.She rides along if papers are being delivered to a judge or another lawyer.
“They are making sure I learn what they do there,” Johnson said. “At first it was intimidating. All these people were so professional. But they’ve been very nice. They teach me a lot and help me feel included.”
The quiet girl with an easy smile is the oldest of three daughters and does her best to be a role a model for her younger sisters, who attend Woods Elementary School.
“It’s funny because they throw that at me whenever I do something weird,” she said.
Johnson has used high school wisely taking advanced classes as often as she can and hopes to attend the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2017. She plans to major in political science and pursue a career in the legal field.
Along with school and her internship, she holds down a part-time job at McDonalds.
“If I could give students any advice, I would tell them to be very organized with their time. Do not overwhelm yourself with everything there is to do. That is a very bad idea,” Johnson said.