By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Two Goshen High School students are getting an early start on business careers.
Goshen senior Katie Bontrager has been named Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education Student of the Month for October through the school’s long-running Cooperative Education program.
Joining Bontrager is senior Emily Vanderveer, who was named Professional Career Internship Student of the Month for October through the same program.
Headed by Cooperative Education Coordinator Brian Bechtel, the Student of the Month program was created as a way to honor both the top student per month in each class, as well as the many local businesses and organizations that have agreed to partner with the school through the Cooperative Education program over the years.
Bontrager works as a receptionist/business manager with Salon J in downtown Goshen. She has been working at the salon since the summer leading into her junior year.
“Well I really enjoy working at the salon, and I’ve been wanting to get more into the business aspect of how it’s run, but I didn’t really have time to do that outside of school,” Bontrager said of how she first became interested in the ICE program. “So when I heard about this program, I thought it just sounded perfect for what I was looking for. It has really helped me learn a lot about my career and where I want to go with it in the future.”
Bontrager is required to work 15 hours a week at the salon in order to get school credit through the ICE program.
“In the morning I usually work in the office, and there I do a lot of the taxes for her, and I look at the receipts and file them into Quickbooks,” Bontrager said. “Then while I’m at the salon, I do a lot of the inventory, I do restocking, I help schedule appointments... I’m basically their secretary.”
Bontrager works under the supervision of owner and head stylist Julia Herschberger, who nominated her for the honor.
“It’s been wonderful,” Herschberger said of working with Bontrager. “She’s been fun to teach just kind of how to work in the world, and she’s really just picking it up and taking it to the next level. She’s doing a great job working with people, and that’s of course what we do a lot of here at the salon.”
Thanks to her time spent within the ICE program, Bontrager said she has already decided that working in a mix of business and fashion is what she wants to do after high school — something she was unsure of before enrolling in the class earlier in the year.
“I think its been really helpful, because I’ve learned a lot about what I want to do with my career,” Bontrager said. “Before, I knew I wanted something to do with business and a little bit of fashion, but that was about it. This has helped me see what I want to do, and that I really enjoy the fashion and marketing worlds. So I’ve decided I’m going to major in marketing management in college.”
Vanderveer received her nomination for Internship Student of the Month through her work at the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center (OSMC) of Nappanee as a physical therapy intern.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity to decide what kind of career I wanted to go into, because I knew I wanted to go into the medical field, but didn’t know which area,” Vanderveer said of the program. “I didn’t know I wanted to go into physical therapy at first, but when I signed up for the class, I talked to Mr. Bechtel, and he said he had a really good placement for physical therapy, so I decided to go that way.”
And according to Vanderveer, who works at the office from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, she’s very glad she did.
“It’s been really helpful for me personally. I’ve loved it,” Vanderveer said. “It’s been really fun, and it’s nice getting out of school. I’m glad that I picked just physical therapy, because I think I’d be bored with just the more general hospital rotation internships. I’m definitely really considering physical therapy as a career now.”
Given the real world experience she has learned through the program, Vanderveer said she would highly recommend the program to other up-and-coming students who have an idea of what they want to do after high school, but are still a little unsure of exactly what to focus on.
“Yeah, I would definitely recommend it,” Vanderveer said. “It’s a lot of fun, and the class work isn’t really too hard, but you still get a lot of real world experience out of it. It’s just very helpful, so I’d recommend it to anyone.”