Tuesday marks what has become a major occasion in both New Canaan High School and downtown New Canaan: The start of the Senior Internship Program.
This year, 94 percent of the senior class at NCHS is participating in the massively popular program that sees local and area businesses host the teens as working interns for the final month of the academic year.
Overnight, hundreds of high school seniors roving NCHS hallways in flip-flops as graduation and summer draw near are relocated from Farm Road to the cash registers and cubicles of downtown New Canaan, sporting business casual wear for what often is their first work experience. (In fact, the number-one “employer” in the program is New Canaan Public Schools.)
Our senior intern this year is Eva Pace, a former NCHS Courant editor who will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall. For the next four weeks, Eva will attend public meetings and events, interview residents and officials, snap photos and publish her work on our news site—please say ‘Hello’ if you see her working around town.
Here’s a quick question-and-answer by way of introduction:
New Canaanite: Tell me about your background in journalism and interest in it.
Eva Pace: My interest started in freshman year at the high school, but journalism is not offered to freshmen. So once my sophomore year came, I was interested in the school climate and I always loved writing but never get a chance to write in a reporting style in English classes, so I was excited to work for the Courant and learn more about that. And of course I got to explore other facets of journalism that are not reporting, obviously graphic design and photos, too. With the way the school organizes the journalism class, I got a broad journalism experience.
Are there any stories or assignments that specifically stand out for you from the Courant?
Yes I think probably my junior year, I was arts editor and I really loved that because I got to be independent with writing stories, not just general assignment reporting. One story was an artist profile for the Senior Art Show and I got to talk individually to seniors at that time that were working on it. I really liked working on that because it was interesting way to do a story that was more detailed and mesh it with a reporting style that was not opinion and not overly descriptive. It was a topic that everyone really cared about.
Did you find that you also learned about fellow NCHS students that you might not have known otherwise?
Absolutely, you do throughout the entire process. There was a girl—I can’t remember her name, Claudia?—and she was a really quiet girl that I didn’t know existed until I was assigned to write a profile on her drawing. She was an incredible artist who drew sketches through her free periods.
I find that’s true in this job, too. I graduated from New Canaan High School 25 years ago but I grew up in this town and in many ways, I’ve learned the most about the town through reporting on it. What are you hoping for or expecting out of the next month as a NewCanaanite.com intern?
I think probably the thing I’m most excited to see is the difference between working for the Courant and a high school paper, ideal setting of journalism writing, versus a real town for a real online publication that is being viewed by the citizens of New Canaan, and seeing not just the writing style but the entire process in how it’s edited and the way the process flows and reporting stories as soon as possible.
What are your plans for next year?
At Vanderbilt I want to write for one of the papers. They don’t have just one student publication, they have Spoon Vandy and also the typical student run paper that does features and immediate Vanderbilt news. So I’m excited to explore my interests in journalism through that and at the same time figure out what to do.