Former Tempe Elementary Student Returns as Summer Intern
Three years ago, Diana Bernal was a student sitting in Tempe Elementary School District classrooms learning, making friends, taking tests, and thinking about what high school would be like.
This summer, Bernal returned to Tempe Elementary, not as a student, but as an intern in the Purchasing Department. Before starting high school at Tempe High, Bernal was a student at Fees College Prep. Now, she is entering her senior year of high school with substantial internship experience on her resume.
The internship, made possible through Career Ready Tempe, seeks to prepare Tempe youth to participate in the future workforce by connecting students with local employers for an eight-week paid summer internship in fields that are in demand.
Monique Harris, Tempe Elementary Senior Buyer, got this program started at Tempe Elementary. Harris, who is passionate about mentorship and helping others, coordinated Bernal’s whole internship program, from internship projects to weekly schedules.
The internship focused on several core areas, including: customer service, soft skills like communication and collaboration, computer applications, public speaking, workplace etiquette, graphic design, and writing. Harris’ main goal was to help Bernal develop skills that will carry through to whatever job she ends up in someday.
“For me, this internship experience has been tremendous. It’s been amazing having her here to help, and she has done a fantastic job,” Harris said.
Thankfully, there were some familiar faces that Bernal already knew in the District. In her first days as an intern, she bumped into a former Fees College Prep staff member, Barbara Salazar.
“It was a crazy moment of recognition. It warms my heart when I see a student I knew from the school and to know that I played a small part in helping them get their education,” Salazar shared. “It’s so nice to see her moving forward, making achievements and setting goals in life.”
At the conclusion of her internship, Tempe Elementary staff members stopped by Bernal’s office to leave notes of encouragement and career tips she could take with her.
“Everyone here has been amazing, and I am very grateful to Monique. She really wants me to be confident and be the best version of me. She has been so helpful and supportive,” Bernal shared. “I am so glad I had this opportunity. Putting this internship on my resume will really open doors for me in the future.”
Article by Robyn Martinez