A group of Andover High School seniors have spent the past several months working to make an impact on their community.
Some have sought to redirect a proposed pipeline route. Others have developed new trails through Andover’s woods. One student furthered an initiative to bring a community garden to town, while others spent time identifying inefficient refrigerators in town buildings. Another student researched what residents from all different sectors want downtown Andover to look like in the future.
Two weeks ago, the dozen or so seniors enrolled in the Environmental Sustainability Internship Course showed off their efforts at an end-of-course recap complete with a poster presentation.
The event, held midday on Jan. 16 in the high school library, was an opportunity for seniors to highlight their projects to peers, parents and staff.
“The philosophy behind the course is ‘think globally, act locally,’” said Melanie Cutter, the Andover High science teacher who leads the course.
“We talked a lot about environmental issues in general, then locally what they can do to solve issues or be more sustainable in town. Another big part of the class is just getting the kids job experience.”
Students were paired with town employees in various departments as well as members of the community, who served as their mentors on their projects. Cutler said she thought it was important for the kids to practice skills such as writing a resume and interviewing for a job, too.
This is the second year for the internship course. Steven Kimball was among the first wave of students who took the course last year. The 2014 graduate of Andover High said the course taught him skills that have useful in his freshman year at Wheaton College in Norton, where he is majoring in history.
“The project management skills I learned in this class have helped me be more assertive and confident when I work in a group,” he said. “Also the research component of it — it really helps me when I’m working on my research projects in college.”