Community Internship Program - A Learner's Perspective

By Conner Katerba

When I first came to Springhouse, I had no idea what exactly internships were and why we even had them. I thought internships were just something adults did to gain experience over a small field of work. As it turns out, I was very wrong. Over the course of the first trimester, I learned the importance of internships and some of the skills that can be acquired through one. My first internship was cob bench building with local builder Juan De Risio.

My internship group started off with learning about “Deep Ecology,” which means that everything is connected in some way. We then created clay concepts of what we wanted the bench to look like. Before we were able to start working on the actual bench, we had to pick a location and make the stone foundation. It was tough because we had to haul a lot of gravel, but I think the good outweighed the bad in most situations. The worst part of the whole internship was having to work in the freezing rain of November. We all got thoroughly soaked.

The goal of the internship was to have a bench people could sit on to enjoy the view of the mountains in the distance at the new Springhouse campus, but I learned more than just how to make cob. On the last day of the internship, it was too cold to work outside, so we watched some documentaries on cob and how other people work with it. That’s where I learned a lot on how other building materials, like concrete, impact the environment once the buildings they’re used in are torn down. Comparatively, a cob house, once broken down, will return directly to the earth instead of piling up.

Because this project is lengthy, the bench is not complete, but will be finished with a new group of learners in the Spring. This trimester, I chose to work with the Floyd Press for my internship. I’ve only just started, but I’ve already learned a lot about what it’s like to be an editor for a newspaper and how AP style writing works. I also helped to edit some articles that will be in the newspaper on Thursday. Over the course of the internship I hope to write something for the newspaper and maybe even attend interviews or counsel meetings.

Overall, I’m grateful there are internship programs at Springhouse. It’s more than just helping people do work. You also learn some very valuable skills that can be applicable to many areas in life. The competencies we work on in internships also provide skills and knowledge that might not be obtainable in other places, like how in my cob internship, I learned that not only is cob cheaper and easier to make things out of than concrete, it can also be used to make ecosystems for plants and animals and when the time comes, it all can be recycled and composted back into the earth.

I’m not sure what my next internship will be, but I do know that I will come out of it with more knowledge that can be used to help myself or others later on in life.

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Springhouse Community School is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. It is also a community of people with respect for diversity. The school emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict nondiscrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, students, family members, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors. Springhouse is an equal opportunity employer. In accord with federal law and applicable Virginia statutes, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, disability, or status as a veteran in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the school.

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