From nonprofit work to outdoor adventure to corporate internships, St. Margaret’s seniors spread out during the month of May to apply their Tartan experience to the outside world as part of their final high school assignment.
The Independent Senior Project is capstone experiential learning assignments designed to serve as an educational transition between high school and the world that awaits them post-St. Margaret’s. The program gives seniors an opportunity to apply their learning to the outside world through internships, volunteering, creative projects or an adventurous challenge in the natural world.
Several seniors complete their ISP on the St. Margaret’s campus, while others left San Juan Capistrano, the state of California or even the United States altogether to offer their talents.
Many Tartans took on internships at a variety of businesses, including law firms, real-estate development companies, retail businesses and medical offices.
Charlie Bienert and Nick Falshaw both did their ISP at STA Jets, a charter-aviation service founded and led by St. Margaret’s alumnus Kurt Belcher ‘97. The two experienced all aspects of the business from customer service to dispatch, and got to visit the private terminal at John Wayne Airport where STA Jets operate.
Elsewhere, both Lauren Otterbein and Allie Roy are interning at MIKOH, a women’s swimwear brand in Orange County. Chantz Norris worked in Los Angeles as a production assistant on a television show, while several students worked in medical offices ranging from plastic surgery to physical therapy.
Colorado River Adventure
As a way to build skills in leadership teamwork, risk assessment and self-reliance while experiencing all the benefits of the natural world, 21 seniors spent this week on a canoeing and hiking adventure down the Colorado River in Nevada and Arizona for their ISP.
The program is run by Positive Adventures and incorporates topics such as reflection, resilience, independence and teamwork in the context of an outdoor learning environment.
Away From California
Several Tartans took their ISP experiences out of state. Samantha Cruz-Sanchez worked in a middle school in Mexico, helping out in both in the administration office and in classrooms.
Joey Westendorf’s ISP with the Progressive Policy Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., is progressing into a summer-long internship.
A few Tartans embedded in public-sector organizations. Will Reinkensmeyer interned with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to learn more about the marine science field.
Jason Garrett, meanwhile, worked at the Newport Beach Police Department shadowing different areas of law-enforcement work. Tomás Anderson Comas worked with the Orange County Fire Department, learning more about the day-to-day work of first responders.
Some seniors chose to pursue ISPs to service-oriented organizations. Anne Weston is interning at Project Hope Alliance, a charity that strives to end the cycle of homelessness through serving children. Anne helped open the organization’s new food pantry in Fullerton.
Julia Martin, meanwhile, worked with the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County, helping with organization and day-to-day programs.