Huskies after hours

As ways to make extra money, students from BVNW participate in jobs that differ from the usual high school occupations.

By Natalie Policky, Blue Valley Northwest High School

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Marlee Volmer


Vivien O’Keefe
Sophomore Marlee Volmer enjoys modeling dresses for Natalie M on her Instagram. “I love being able to not only try on dresses but try to reach people to tell them about how good these dresses are.”

Marlee Volmer gets paid to try on dresses and promote them on Instagram, one of the perks of working at Natalie M., a dress store at 127th and Metcalf.

Volmer earns money by posting dresses she tries on in the store. Volmer also helps customers in-store, Volmer’s boss Lisa Carson said. Volmer began earning money when she tried on her first dress from Natalie M.

“I promoted it [and] I tagged Natalie M. in my posts,” Volmer said. “They had asked me if I wanted to model some dresses for them, and I said yes!”

Volmer said that her favorite part of posting prom dresses on social media has been the connections she makes with people.

“I can reach people who have been struggling to find a good dress store and really make those connections with them,” Volmer said.

Volmer, Carson said, shows many great qualities to customers inside and out of Natalie M. through her warm personality.

“Marlee is always so upbeat and genuine,” Carson said, “She will be great at helping girls find the perfect prom dress.”

The biggest struggle Volmer faces with running a social media account is scheduling photo shoots with Natalie M., as she also participates in BVNW cheer and competes in pageants outside of school. However, this does not stop Volmer from connecting with others who are conflicted with finding the perfect dress.

“Having other activities that clash with [the job] isn’t always the easiest,” Volmer said. “But it’s always worth it!”

Charlie Halverson


Vivien O’Keefe
Senior Charlie Halverson’s time working in Alaska taught him a lot about fishing and contributes to his hobbies outside of work. “This translated into my interests in bass fishing back home in Kansas” Halverson said.

Spending the summer processing fish after fish, may not sound glamorous, but for senior Charlie Halverson, the best part about doing so was being immersed in the beautiful nature of Alaska and gaining an interest in fishing.

Halverson was paid during the summer for cutting, transporting, cleaning and filleting fish in Ketchikan, Alaska. Halverson worked for a company called Cedars Lodge, working 12-18 hours a day.

“The reason why the hours were so extensive is because whatever amount of fish are brought in that day has to be cut and packaged because fish is a perishable product,” Halverson said.

Working at Cedar’s Lodge is tough, according to Carter Thomas, a native of Alaska that Halverson met. Hours were extensive and the work was messy, but Carter said the employees made it enjoyable.

“The job wasn’t the most fun job, but [Halverson] brought energy to the crew,” Thomas said, “That made working with fish guts just a little bit better.”

Halverson was hired from a network through his church. Halverson had a loose idea of what he was going to be working with while in Alaska, but what motivated him to go was nature.

“I love nature,” Halverson said, “So I knew it would be a super neat experience going up and having a different experience.”

While Halverson believes the worst part of processing is the smell, he said the benefits outweighed the negatives. Halverson said it gave himself confidence that he could adapt well and thrive in new and unknown environments.

“It gave me insight into what life is like, living on your own and how to work with people in living quarters and at work,” Halverson said, “I learned a lot about myself and what qualities I enjoy in people when I work and live with them.”

Julia Masterson


Vivien O’Keefe
Even though senior Julia Masterson said her job is time consuming, she still enjoys performing. “I was always a singer, I always loved singing,” she said. “When my cousin told me to try theatre, I tried a camp, and then I just never stopped.”

Starring in “Tinker’s Toy Factory: The Christmas Fever,” senior Julia Masterson earns money as an elf in a production for the Worlds of Fun theatre company.

Masterson was offered a spot by the director of the musical, Mandy Morris, who previously worked with her in “Putnam County’s 25th Annual Spelling Bee” at Faust Theatre. Masterson has been taking part in musicals since she was 11 years old. Before taking up theatre, she participated in competitive gymnastics, which fired her passion for dancing. From there, she has continued to participate in musicals, as Masterson said she loves singing.

Being in the Worlds of Fun musical takes lots of time away from Masterson’s life outside of school. Masterson said on weekdays, she rehearses from after school until 11:30 p.m. and on weekends she rehearses for 10 hours.

“I do not have any free time,” Masterson said. “I probably have about a 5-minute slot between school and my rehearsals. It’s tough.”

For a high school student, the schedule is demanding and the show requires lots of energy, Morris said.

“I could imagine it would be pretty exhausting to try and balance school and work,” Morris said, “But I think it’s so much fun that it makes it worth it.”

Seeing how magical it is to the little kids is the best part, Masterson said.

What makes it better is she is fun to watch on stage because she is insanely talented, according to Morris.

“She brings a great work ethic to every rehearsal as well as a positive attitude,” Morris said, “Julia is an extremely dedicated young lady who has a bright future ahead of her.”

Masterson will be performing in the shows from Nov. 23-Jan. 1.

This story was originally published on The Express and Husky Headlines on January 9, 2020.