By Tim Leeds
Students from Havre High School are working in local businesses for some unusual pay.
Instead of a paycheck, they receive work experience and credit at the high school.
Credit for Work, a part of the School to Career program at Havre High, gives the students experience in a field they are interested in as a career.
Students work for a local business for a total of 180 hours at the job site during the semester. They receive one-half of a credit at the high school, as well as experience at the job.
Students must apply for the program and meet eligibility requirements, including a minimum 2.0 GPA and no unexcused absences. They must be approved by the community business partner they wish to work with, and cannot receive pay for the work. The school district provides workman's compensation for the student at the job site.
Howard Hahn, assistant principal at the high school, said the business partner, the student and Johnson work out a list of learning objectives for the semester. He said the students have to submit a progress report every two weeks.
Hahn said this kind of experience is a level of education they want students to have more and more.
"This building has a nice set of four walls, but education doesn't all take place here," he said.
Brett Burnell, son of Barbara Burnell, is working with Shawn and Christine Holden at Holden's Hot Wheels. Laine Jorgeson, daughter of Ed and Patty Codden, is working with Cindy Norton at Curves for Women.
Erica Sparks, daughter of John and Nancy Sparks, is working with Dr. Tari Mord at Eastside Animal Hospital.
Burnell said he wanted to work with Holden because he is interested in owning his own car stereo store after he graduates.
Burnell said he loves working at the business. He said he has been helping with various work in the shop, such as stereo installation, installing running boards, and building stereo speaker boxes.
Holden said he thinks Work for Credit is a good idea.
"Sometimes I feel kids don't realize how hard you have to work to get what you want, what sacrifices you have to make," he said.
Holden said he plans to have Burnell work on advertising next month along with work in the shop, and will start showing him what the accounting and running the business is like.
Jorgeson said she had already worked for Norton, owner and operator of the Havre Curves for Women. The matchup with Norton's business for Credit for Work was fairly natural, she said.
She said she is learning marketing skills, advertising, bookkeeping, public relations and customer service at her job. She said part of her learning objectives is to research opening her own branch of the franchise in Glasgow, figuring expense projections and writing feasibility reports on different locations.
"(Credit for Work) is a wonderful program to give kids practical experience," Norton said. "If I'd had this in high school I'd probably be a lot farther ahead."
Sparks said she has been doing whatever is needed at Eastside Animal Hospital, such as brushing cats, cleaning kennels, and watching appointments. She said she's learned a lot about the treatment of animals.
Mord said she thinks the program is a wonderful idea.
"In my generation, so many were influenced by what they read, and it was pretty idealistic," she said. "Erica's getting a dose of reality."
Mord said much of the work at the hospital has to be done when Sparks can't be there. She said they have been saving slides of morning work, such as operations, for Sparks to view, and will show her the work directly as it is possible.