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Despite national decline, many York students take on summer jobs

Junior Joe Brown scans the water at East End Pool.

Photo courtesy of Simon David

Junior Joe Brown scans the water at East End Pool.

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The infamous summer job has been a tradition for many high school students around the country, and the students at York are no exception. It can vary from life guarding, working the phones at a pizza parlor, nannying, and several other possibilities. Many students have seemed to jump on the opportunity and are filling their summer days with hours of work.

Junior, Gabbie Walker, for example, packs her summer days with many little summer jobs. She goes from babysitting and dog-sitting for neighbors to organizing papers for a family friend, and even being a personal driver. Her newest job–a lifeguard and swim teacher at the YMCA.

“I have always babysat and nannied and things like that, but this is my first job [swim instructor/lifeguard at YMCA] that I have had to pay taxes and get a weekly paycheck,” Walker said.

Paying taxes is a new idea that high school students have to get used to after they work. Many have never experienced the reality of getting money taken out of their paycheck until they receive their first one.  

Similarly to Walker, junior, Mollie Grasse,packs her summer days and faces the reality of paying taxes for the first time. She is a lifeguard for the Elmhurst Park District (EPD) public pools and has to find time to manage her busy schedule. On top of work she has summer school every morning, practice with the varsity lacrosse team, as well as practice for drum line for marching band. She finds a way to fit her work into her busy schedule almost everyday.

“The flexible hours at my job work really well with my schedule because I have so many other activities that fill my time,” Grasse said.

Kaitlin Templeman
Juniors Mollie Grasse and Maddie Wiygul wear their life guard swimsuits to summer school since they have to go straight to work after class.

Walker and Grasse are not alone. Many York students have jobs this summer in the Elmhurst and the surrounding area. There are a wide variety of jobs students can have over the summer anything from nannying, working at a restaurant, at a trampoline place, life guarding, working at a grocery store, or even being a referee.

A survey about summer jobs was given to a little over 60 students in summer school, ranging in grade levels but mostly sophomores and juniors. The survey showed that the most common summer jobs were babysitting, lifeguarding, and working at a restaurant.

Babysitting was the most common job with 22% of students having to take care of Elmhurst’s most precious commodity, children. Being a lifeguard was the next most common with 19.5% of students surveyed saving lives. Working at a restaurant was the next common with 17.1% of students bussing tables, being a cashier, or waitering/waitressing.


To Work or Not To Work

There are many reasons why kids may get summer jobs. It varies from needing money, filling their free time, and even just learning how to be responsible in a work setting.

Junior, Natalie Nutter, a hostess and phone attendant at Armand’s, shares her thoughts on why she got a job.

“I got a job to get money and to have something to do honestly,” Nutter said. “If I don’t have anything to do I’m like well I have work later so”

Kaitlin Templeman
Junior Natalie Nutter placing orders for customers at Armand’s.

Other students see the chance as a way to work on valuable leadership skills.

“I mean it’s work,” Walker said.   I wouldn’t say it’s the most fun thing I could be doing with my time. But I enjoy it, and it’s a great leadership opportunity. It has taught me a lot about patience and how to be a good role model and leader for younger kids.”

Sophomore Hanna Homan is working as a lifeguard at the EPD pools for the first time this summer. She says her job taught her important life skills.

¨It is fairly relaxed and is a great starting point for high school students,” Homan said ”The park district has been very helpful with teaching me how to direct deposit my paychecks and how to fill out tax forms.¨

While some students may say that working is a great way to fill time, teach responsibility, and earn money, other students say that they don’t have the time and aren’t motivated enough to.

Sophomore Stone Quarrie is a babysitter and a waiter at Meatheads. After working this summer, he does not see a need for a summer job in high school.

“High school is the only time in your life where your bills are paid and you have time to figure out who you are,” Quarrie said. “You have time to work later in life. Now should be the time you discover what you are passionate about.”

Sophomore Greg Hradil does not have a summer job, mostly due because of time.

“I am in summer school,” Hradil said. “I know that I could have worked in the afternoon, but I do not need the money, and I don’t have that much time for a job or really wanted one.”

Similar to Hradil, senior Victoria Alcozer didn’t see the need for a job this summer.

“I haven’t felt inclined right now to go out and try and find one,” Alcozer said.

According to a study cited in the Atlantic, the notorious summer job for teenage students has decreased by almost half in the last forty years, with 60 percent of teens working or attempting to work in 1978 compared ot only 35 percent in 2016..  

Some people may say that the large decrease in summer jobs is from pure “laziness”, but research from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that teenagers are not spending their summer days sitting on their couch; instead, they’re spending their time in the classrooms and getting ahead on studies. Researches found that, in fact, education is the culprit. Teens are staying in high school for longer, and more high school students are going to college more often. Students are also taking more summer school classes to get ahead of studies. The most recent high school graduates percent of enrolling in both two year and four year college has increased but 25%. The growth of enrollment has almost mirrored the same decrease of students with summer jobs.

Chat from survey given to a little over 65, mostly, summer school students about summer jobs.

At York, however, on top of getting ahead on school, students are also working.  The survey about summer jobs, was given to a little over 65 summer school students showed that almost 57% of the students at York, who are in summer school, do work and many students actually enjoy it.


Joys of Working

Graduate Abigail Emich has worked at the bookstore for the past few summers and says it’s a fairly easy job. 

“Yes as far as jobs go, I like it,” Emich said. “I mean its pretty chill, honestly. We have a lot of stuff going on, but it’s not super stressful or anything like that, which I like.”

While Emich finds the bookstore stress free, Walker finds her drive to keep working in a different way. She just began her job as a swim instructor and lifeguard at the YMCA she shares her “love” for the social aspect of the job.

“I like the social aspect of working at the YMCA because I just met a lot of my coworkers ,and I love working with the kids and the program,” Walker said. I think that the YMCA as a whole is a great way to bring the community together.”

Jobs are a great way to meet new people. Similar to Walker’s favorite aspect of her job, junior, Ted Miller, a front end clerk(bagger)at Jewel-Osco, enjoys the social aspect of working as well.

“I love meeting new people as they check out” Miller said.

Senior Kevin Homan has been working for the EPD(Elmhurst Park District) as a lifeguard for the past three summers and appreciates the family-like work environment.

“Lifeguards at East End are like a family, and those who have been there for more than one summer are treated like royalty,” Homan said.


Need a Job? There is Always Next Summer!

You might have missed out on some jobs this summer, but here are some tips on how to get a job this school year or next summer.

Bookstore manager, Mike Calba, gave some suggestions on how to get a job in the future.

“I suggest that they apply early, that they follow through, respond to emails and phone calls,” Calba said. “[The]biggest thing is to be reliable”

Kaitlin Templeman
York Graduate Billie Sasaki helps the bookstore set up for the upcoming book sale in August.

Calba and junior Sam Udisky, lifeguard for EPD, have similar thoughts on how to get a summer job when applying for them.

“Apply for the job at the beginning of the summer and not a month after because then you might not get the job,”  Udisky said.

Whether you apply early or not you want to make sure you enjoy your job. Grasse states her thoughts on finding a job that works for you.

“Lifeguarding is a good job,” Grasse said. “Shifts are super flexible. I like the job, but it’s definitely not for everyone, so do what you want to do.”

In addition to the valuable skills that are learned during the experience are beneficial to high school students, most agree that the biggest reward is the paycheck.

“Summer jobs are really good to get cash money,” Grasse added.

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