Clock out, clock in

SHS students work to balance academics, sports and extracurriculars with jobs


Ayslin Bowman

Sophomore Erin York ties up a bagged order to hand off to a customer as she works the Enzo Pizza drive-thru on March 22.

Once the bell rings, announcing the end of another school day, many high school students’ days have actually just begun again.

Not all students get to leave school, go home and relax. From swimming instructors to restaurant assistants, many SHS students experience a lot of their daily life outside of the classrooms.

Throughout these experiences in professional working environments, SHS teenagers have learned about the positive outcomes of such responsibilities, as much of the sacrifices that come along with it.

“I feel like as a teenager it is okay to take a step away from work if you’re focusing more on school,” sophomore Erin York said. “But because of my job, I’ve become a better person overall, and when I have different types of interactions, I handle them more responsibly.”

York has been at “Enzo’s Pizza” for almost two years now. She currently works at the drive-thru, and she likes to describe her job as a family environment. As much as York doesn’t have any particular complaints about her job, she is aware of the commitment that being an employee involves.

At first, she had no complications. However, she has noticed that going into her sophomore year while working a part-time job and being involved in sports was adding some new challenges that just weren’t there her freshman year. 

York scoops ice into a cup to fill up a customer’s drink for a drive-thru order at Enzo’s Pizza on March 22. (Ayslin Bowman)

“Because I’m taking harder classes, it kind of is a struggle,” York said. “Now I am 16, and I’m trying to get all the right grades to be able to go to college.”

Likewise, junior Dorrie June, working as a swimming instructor and lifeguard, is going through a similar schedule struggle.

As a two-sport athlete June is currently trying to navigate such a busy lifestyle. Her schedule can include lifting, swimming and lacrosse practices, plus her job all in one day. Nevertheless, June admits that she is the one who has chosen these activities, and because of that, she’s come up with her own system in order to make the most out of her time.

“I’ve just had to learn how to time-manage really well,” June said. “I’ve had to learn how to prioritize, and I have to use my study halls very thoughtfully.”

Both York and June share completely different experiences when it comes to their job positions. But despite these differences, the two of them agree that being employed has given them a new perspective towards the working field.

June personally enjoys the opportunity that her job gives her: to still get that taste of responsibility without taking the teenager feeling away from her.

“I teach children, so obviously I have to be their authority,” June said. “At the same time, they’re still kids, so I still get to goof around. I don’t have to be on a customer-service professionalism.”

Other student athletes, such as junior Jacob Rodriguez, have gained a lot of organizational skills out of his job. However, Rodriguez also says that it can be a serious struggle to balance everything all at once.

“It can be hard,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes I have to miss work for practice or sometimes practice for work.” 

Nevertheless, as much as sometimes there are some commitments that he needs to give up, such as sports, Rodriguez is very pleased with his job position and he likes the family business that he’s involved in.

Some of these teens, such as York, can’t count on their own transportation, which can turn into a frustration with rides. As for York, her parents have always been a great support with transportation issues when it comes to getting to work. 

Aside from these struggles, York’s parents enjoy seeing their daughter dedicated to her job. Her mom is especially proud of her growth towards becoming an independent person and getting the chance to do so by experiencing it daily in a professional environment, which gives her a more mature perspective of life.  

“She is very proud, she likes me having a job, she likes me getting my credit up, she likes me getting my own money,” York said about her mom. “She likes giving me a taste of adulthood because she knows I’m not always gonna be under her wing.”