Experience opens eyes of Hendricken seniors to career opportunities


With the school year coming to a close, high school seniors are on the verge of a huge adjustment. They will shed the routine of high school and pursue different career paths and personal goals. They will have to answer the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Senior experience at Bishop Hendricken High School is designed to help students make an educated decision to this daunting question. Every Monday from early March to late May, seniors volunteer as unpaid interns for various organizations throughout Rhode Island. A student chooses to intern in a field he thinks he might have an interest in. Because of his positive experiences in his physiology class, senior Chris Hook chose to work at Pappas Physical Therapy in Johnston. Senior Jake Mageria chose to work at Gordon Research Corp. because he knew it offered him a good simulation of what it was like to work in an office environment.

As a graduation requirement, all 219 Hendricken seniors must participate in the senior experience program. The hope is that the work and observations of these students will help them decide on future career paths. The program has generated praise from students and businesses alike for the past 20 years.

Seniors Kyle St. Jean and Rich Bacon have found the program particularly helpful. The engaging work they do at Kent Hospital has opened their eyes to the possibilities in the health care industry. Their work includes transporting patients and lab specimens from the Emergency Room as well as observing diagnostic imaging. They have learned valuable skills such as how to read x-ray and MRI results.

“Working with the biotechnology has really launched my interest in biomedical engineering,” says St. Jean, who plans on pursuing this interest next year at the University of Rhode Island.

“For me, working at Kent has reassured me of what I want to do,” adds Bacon, who hopes to become a radiologist and will attend the University of Albany.

St. Jean and Bacon have even surpassed the requirements of the senior experience program. For the past two years, they both have volunteered at Kent along with six other Hendricken students. Each volunteer session they are rotated to a different position in the hospital.

“You get a taste of all the different opportunities available in the field of health care,” said St. Jean. “Kent has been a really welcoming environment where we [the volunteers] are treated as family.”

To gain more experience, St. Jean has been working part-time as a dietary aid at Kent.

Both St. Jean and Bacon plan on continuing to volunteer throughout the summer. They would also recommend Kent to future participants in the senior experience program and other high school volunteers who are interested in the health care field.

As for Hendricken’s senior experience program, St. Jean praises it as “a very innovative way for student career learning.” Other students have also found their senior experience to be rewarding. They have worked in disciplines spanning from physical therapy, engineering and dentistry to law practice and journalism.

St. Jean and Bacon have taken full advantage of the program. For their efforts, they have discovered a field of interest they love and have learned valuable skills to help them succeed in the health care field. These are the intentions of Hendricken’s senior experience program. In June, seniors now can graduate with a clearer idea of their future.

Editor’s note: Mark Vuono, who wrote this story, is a Hendricken student completing his senior experience at the Warwick Beacon.


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