How Fair-Anselmo individuals bloomed into the workforce (and how you can too!)


Ava Wilson

Students sometimes feel overwhelmed juggling school with work, just like this illustration of a girl at her job at Burger King.

Many young people strive for a successful career, yet find themselves struggling to plant the seed that will bloom into success. With a high school job, students can gain connections, experience, and knowledge that can propel their careers throughout their lifetime. For many adults in the community, having high school jobs prepared them for successful careers later in life. 

Stephanie Hellman, the Mayor of Fairfax, grew up in Terra Linda and held many jobs before joining the Town Council. She landed her first job at The Emporium at Northgate mall when she was fourteen, and she is grateful for the experience she gained through her high school jobs.

“I would recommend [having a job in high school] to anyone, working with the public in any kind of retail or service job is such a good experience. You’ll develop people skills and figure out what you like and don’t like…It is far more meaningful than what you can get out of a classroom,” Hellman said.

With current employee shortages, Hellman thinks that teenagers won’t have any issues finding employment.

“There are a lot of businesses looking for help right now, particularly restaurants, but there’s not always going to be a ‘help wanted’ sign out,” Hellman said.

AWHS assistant principal Nate Severin started working as a newspaper boy from eighth to eleventh grade. Although Severin did not necessarily have a passion for waking up at 5 a.m. to deliver newspapers, he wanted the paycheck.

“I asked my parents for twenty bucks to go to the movies and they were like ‘no go get a job,’ for me it was, I needed some money, so I just made it happen,” Severin said.

As an educator, Severin believes that school is crucial to childrens’ and teenagers’ development, but it won’t fully prepare them for life in the real world. 

“Education in school is preparing you for jobs, careers, and interests that ultimately could be [helpful] outside the school environment, but there are also things outside of [school] that I think could hone in those skills in real-life situations such as working in service and learning how to handle people outside of just school,” Severin said.

Alice Mead, co-owner of Swirl, a frozen yogurt shop, started working later in life.

“I had a sort of an extensive educational path, and it took me quite a number of years to finish that and to explore different opportunities until I found something I really liked.  I kind of wish I had [a job in high school], it can help you think about your future so it doesn’t take as long as it took me,” Mead said.

Although Mead did not work as a high schooler herself, she employs many AWHS students, for many of whom it is their first job.

“We’re looking for someone who’s presentable, outgoing, and friendly, it means they’ve taken the most care for the interview. Prior experience helps, even babysitting or helping out your sports team, anything that shows that they handle responsibility,” Mead said.

Some AWHS students, like sophomore Axl Yarbrough, are beginning to dive into the workforce. Axl started his first job at CVS a little over a month ago, a decision he is proud of.

“I’d recommend other students to get jobs so that you can have more money during high school and you don’t have to ask your parents for money. It was easy to find a job, all I did was look online to see [what places are] hiring, most places are because of COVID-19, and I applied to multiple places,” Axl said.

 Fair-Anselmo’s working adults hope that their seeds of advice will inspire teens to explore the workforce in high school so they may grow into successful and engaged members of society.

AWHS sophomore, Axl Yarbrough, arranges lotions during his shift at CVS. (Corina Karr)