Wilton students gain experience through high school internships

Each year, Wilton High School offers seniors a chance to participate in a three- to four-week internship program.

From mid-May until the last day of class at Wilton High, seniors are given the opportunity to explore areas of interest outside their usual class schedules.

The Wilton High School Senior Internship program encourages students to explore career interests ranging from local businesses to global companies to nonprofit organizations.

This year, Wilton students have decided to intern at a number of local businesses — including White Moth, Slothin’, the Wilton Historical Society and The Painted Cookie — each with their own responsibilities, challenges and experiences.

White Moth

Wilton High School seniors Casey Chase, Jenna Lee and Ingrid Wang spent the last weeks of their internship preparing for the White Moth Jewelry Summer Sale June 5.

The three girls started interning at White Moth on May 15, and they all did so for different reasons.

“I enjoy art design and was particularly interested by the creative aspect of jewelry-making,” said Ingrid.

“I knew I wanted to pursue an internship that would satisfy my creative interests, but I was also interested in the idea of discovering the process behind the development and sale of products.”

Casey said she has always been fascinated by the design element of the business, but also the marketing and advertising.

“I wanted to learn more about an industry that I was not very familiar with, and I saw the internship as the perfect opportunity to do something that I might otherwise never do,” she said.

Although White Moth wasn’t her first choice, Jenna said she is glad she chose to intern there.

“I have learned a lot about business and marketing, a field in which I never thought I would be interested in,” said Jenna.

“Being able to work with two of my friends makes the experience even better and we have fun planning and creating ideas for the White Moth brand.”

The three interns have a range of responsibilities, said Casey, including helping Tracey Heinemann, owner of White Moth, prepare for the jewelry sale. That included “designing and putting together some pieces and organizing her inventory,” she said.

In addition to preparing for the sale, Casey said she and her fellow interns worked on designing a warrior-themed necklace for White Moth’s fall sale and brainstormed ideas for how to market Ms. Heinemann’s new line.

Ingrid said her favorite part about interning at White Moth has been working with the jewelry and learning how many elements — “from the clasp to the chain to the pendant” — can make each piece unique.

Casey and Jenna, on the other hand, said they have enjoyed the various business functions.

“The best part about White Moth is having so many different aspects to focus on,” said Jenna. “Being able to work on both social media, advertising, poster design and creating the jewelry allows us to work on all functions of the business.”

Each White Moth intern said she found different aspects of her internship experience challenging.

“It was difficult contacting media sources to help advertise for the sale,” said Casey. “Each news source is a little different, so it took some research at first.”

Ingrid and Jenna said it was a bit challenging knowing that their roles as White Moth interns made an impact on the business.

“I had never worked to closely with the owner of a business before, and the idea of assuming a role where my actions could make a difference for a business was intimidating at first,” said Ingrid.

“In school you can make a mistake and get a second try, but in an internship such as this one, any mistake has a direct impact on both the success and image of the business,” said Jenna.

“On a lesser note, I also had to learn to use a program I had never used before to create a poster, and learning how to use it as I went along was a fun challenge.”

Slothin’

On Thursday, May 29, the Slothin’ clothing brand crew set up a table outside Village Market to sell T-shirts, Frisbees and stickers and help raise money for Relay for Life.

With the assistance of sales coordinator Peter Russo, intern Dylan Hines helped sell the Slothin’ merchandise outside the market for two days.

Dylan and his two fellow Slothin’ interns Cole Smith and Jack Byrne also sold Slothin’ gear at Wilton High School for two days prior.

Slothin’ has helped expand students’ business awareness by providing internship opportunities since Alex Ross, a 2008 Wilton High School graduate, founded the business.

In a May interview with The Bulletin, Dylan said he became interested in the Slothin’ clothing brand when he was in seventh grade.

“My brother got my interested in Slothin’,” Dylan told The Bulletin.

“Now, in the most stressful year of my life so far, it’s nice to look forward to Slothin’. It reminds me to take a step back every once in a while.”

Cole told The Bulletin that interning at Slothin’ has been “an interesting experience.”

“Being our age and being exposed to the start-up world — it’s an environment where we can all learn together,” he told The Bulletin.

Selling, packing and shipping merchandise orders are just a few of the many responsibilities the boys have as interns, as well as helping promote the company’s laid-back philosophy of “taking time to appreciate the simple things” and finding one’s “inner sloth.”

“It’s a very organic situation with a lot of ideas still floating around,” Cole told The Bulletin back in May.

Mr. Ross told The Bulletin that one of the goals of Slothin’ is to spread the clothing brand to more high schools and colleges.

“Our interns help us keep the brand fresh to younger generations, so as more students go to new colleges, it can expand.”

Historical society

Wilton High School senior Cressida Richards said her interest in history and nonprofit organizations are why she decided to intern at the Wilton Historical Society.

“The Wilton Historical Society seemed the perfect fit,” she said.

As an intern, Cressida said she has been given a variety of different responsibilities.

“Typically, my responsibilities come in the form of different projects, be it organizing files, researching items in the collection or writing articles,” said Cressida. “Most recently, I was given the project of restoring our Twitter account and making it a more viable means of communication between the society and the town of Wilton.”

Cressida said “working with such genuinely kind people” has been the best part of her internship.

“There are so many characters at the society, all of whom have been exceedingly welcoming and helpful,” she said. “It’s like a family of historians.”

Cressida said the biggest challenge during her internship experience was the annual Cider Mill fourth grade field trip program in May.

“All of the fourth graders from Cider Mill came to visit the site over the course of five days,” explained Cressida.

Approximately 350 students visited the historical society to engage in hands-on learning of colonial tasks like hearth cooking, carpentry and spinning wool.

Wilton Historical Society staff and volunteers, including Cressida, dressed in colonial attire to give the fourth graders a truly historic experience.

“It can be a little overwhelming — so many nine-year-olds running around,” said Cressida, who taught the visitors how to sew during the five-day program.

“We made pin cushions filled with lavender and sheep’s wool,” she said.

“It was a wonderful experience, but instructing young children is not easy in a colonial dress and bonnet.”

Cressida said after having “such a great experience,” she would love to volunteer at the Wilton Historical Society over the summer.

The Painted Cookie

Wilton High School senior Nicky Shefers decided to intern at The Painted Cookie.

As his internship neared its end, Nicky and Susan Schmitt, owner of the cookie shop, prepared for the busy graduation season and end of the school year.

During his internship, Nicky learned production aspects of running a small business, said Ms. Schmitt.

“From baking to boxing to consumption, and [he] especially enjoyed the consumption,” she said.