School off, summer jobs on


Annika Pepper and Creative Commons

With summer right around the corner, many students will apply for their first jobs in the community. Teachers and administrators have also shared this experience, and prove that your first job doesn’t have to match your last.

Over the summer many students of the Mill will find their first jobs. Summer jobs help students learn responsibility and make a little cash. With advice and stories to share, teachers and administration send students off into the summer to find their own jobs and make their own memories.

Number one, do the best job you can possibly do with your first job.

— Principal Allen Leonard

“As I was growing up in Fayette County, Georgia, I earned my money as a soccer referee for the Fayette County Soccer Leagues,” Leonard said.

Leonard explained that the skills he obtained during his first job continue to benefit him even now. “I would say that a lot of the decision-making procedures that I go through, even now on a daily basis, I started to develop those skills in that job,” Leonard said. “Number one, do the best job you can possibly do with your first job.”

Science department chair Dan Gant said his first job was at a summer camp. “My father ran a boys camp for underprivileged boys,” Gant said. ”When I was nine years old I started working the camp store for my father.”

Gant also mentioned there were some perks. “I wanted to drink the orange drinks, eat the ice cream, and eat the Moon Pies,” Gant said.  “You never know what you’re going to learn. I learned mental math. My students know I can mentally add, subtract, multiply and divide, all from that summer job.”

Show up every day, show up early, and do what you are asked to do, [and] everything will be fine.

— economics teacher Walt Ellison

Math teacher Heather McNally’s first job was at a deli. She said that there were some upsides to working at a deli. “My friends would come in and visit me,” McNally said. “I wanted to have my own money to spend, and my parents didn’t buy me anything. I paid for my own gas for my car.”

She also said there were some struggles with managing a job. “I had to prioritize with getting all my work done for school, cheerleading, I was in chorus, and drama as well,” McNally said. McNally advised that students need to learn to balance all the aspects of their lives.

Economics and current events teacher Walt Ellison’s first job was at the Great American Cookie Company. Ellison explained that he was not forced to have a job. “I wanted some spending money,” Ellison said. “My mom and dad were paying for gas, so it wasn’t like I had to do it, but I wanted some money.”

Ellison provided some advice for students getting their first jobs. “Attention to detail matters,” Ellison said. “Show up every day, show up early, and do what you are asked to do, [and] everything will be fine.”

Summer jobs teach skills such as time management, communication, using available resources, patience, money management, and independence.  They can also teach valuable life lessons that will travel with students no matter what they end up doing with their lives.