Students are employed in a variety of unique jobs and internships, some of which have temporarily stopped during the pandemic

Senior+Aldo+Plascencia+works+at+Water+Spring%2C+filling+and+carrying+jugs+of+water+for+customers.

Courtesy of Aldo Plascencia

Senior Aldo Plascencia works at Water Spring, filling and carrying jugs of water for customers.

By Alina Jafri, Santa Clara High School

From lifting jugs of water to collaborating with NASA, many SCHS students have joined the workforce. The current shelter-in-place mandate due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, however, has affected many student jobs.

Senior Aldo Plascencia works at Water Spring, a water purification service. His job is to fill people’s water jugs and carry them back to their car. Plascencia believes his job is a little out of the ordinary because there are not that many water services anymore.

“One thing that really surprised me when I started working there is the amount of business that store really gets because you hear ‘water store’ and don’t expect there to be a line coming out of the store every Sunday,” Plascencia said.

According to Plascenia, the number of water jugs he carries has felt like a workout especially with the abundance of water jugs he has to fill and carry.

“A memorable experience I’ve had while working there is having to deal with airport security going there because they bring around 26 bottles which is around 130 gallons of water every time they show up,” Plascencia said.

Sophomore Jason Visitacion had a much different job experience. Before the pandemic, Visitacion worked at the Youth Activity Center by Cabrillo Middle School. His job entailed helping kids with their homework and entertaining them. He has enjoyed the work environment and interacting with the children.

“I would say that it’s crazy to see kids change and almost grow up in a way,” Visitacion said. “There are times when they misbehave and you watch them learn from their mistakes and become a better person.”

Senior Alissa Friedman also worked with children but as a dance teacher. She taught several classes a week of varying age groups, difficulty, and styles of dance at the Santa Clara Recreation Center. While Friedman believes teaching kids requires patience and dedication, she has found it to be something she is passionate about.

“It makes me so happy to see them gain confidence in themselves and have fun on stage,” Friedman said.

Junior Bridget Prince is one of many students who have worked as lifeguards. However, she also had experience teaching as a swim instructor.

“One really fun experience for me was helping a 3-year-old learn to swim and get more comfortable in the water,” Prince said. “At first he would cry and wouldn’t get in, but after two weeks, he was swimming little distances, so I felt really accomplished and happy.”

Several students have also participated in the workforce by taking internships. Junior Aribah Hoque had the opportunity to intern and work on the Kepler mission at NASA. According to Hoque, she was able to learn about the data collection and processing used by Kepler, the telescope, to find extrasolar planets.

“As I was interning at NASA, I was able to attend multiple talks in which representatives from different projects held. It was interesting to see all the different ideas and paths they take on,” Hoque said.

Plascencia is one of many students who are still working despite the outbreak. According to Plascencia, the water store placed new restrictions because of the virus.

“We all wear gloves and masks, no one is allowed inside the store, and we have sold out of most of our bottles,” Plascencia said.

However, several public places including restaurants, retail stores and offices have been closed so there are a multitude of students who are out of work.

Visitacion is no longer working at the Youth Activity Center. Due to the shelter-in-place order, everyone is at home, and there are no children to watch. According to Visitacion, a lot of future summer programs hosted by the YAC have also been canceled since there is no exact end date to the pandemic.

“I felt disappointed of course,” Visitacion said. “(I’m) not able to look forward to hanging out with all my co-workers or even just having a fun time playing with the kids, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.”

This story was originally published on The Roar on April 3, 2020.