The following story, recently published in the Beech Grove Hornet Blast, is an example of how how Indiana’s urban schools go above and beyond to help prepare students for college and careers 

Weston Taylor knew he wanted to own his own small business one day – and, he wanted that business to be a shoe store! Mrs. Paige Anderson, who oversees the student intern program at Beech Grove High School, made a connection with Mr. Jim Coffman, who owns Eckstein Shoe Store on Main Street in Beech Grove. Jim is helping Weston to understand what it takes to own and operate a shoe store. Weston has perfected his customer service skills at Eckstein Shoe Store by answering the phone, marking shipments, running the cash register, and assisting customers. He interns 2-3 days per week during the last three hours of his school day. When asked what is the most important thing he’s learned so far, Weston answered, “make customers feel important.” He praised Mr. Coffman, stating that, “Jim is excellent and treats me as one of his own. He is a wonderful mentor and a friend.”What has Mr. Coffman learned from the experience? “Getting an inside feel of what is happening inside our local high school and learning about the programs offered to our students. It really helps to know what is happening in ‘your own little backyard.’ My customers really enjoy having Weston here and enjoy helping him to learn. He’s earning a grade here as well. Having Weston as an intern is really beneficial to me and to my customers. As part of the program, I provide regular input to Mrs. Anderson in the form of an evaluation. I would absolutely recommend this program to other businesses. As a small business owner, it’s hard to come up with extra money to pay for extra employees. Weston is here to learn, but he’s also here to work and he saves me money on employment costs. So, it benefits him and my company, too. He’s a good kid and we really enjoy having him at Eckstein Shoe Store. This is a really good program! We had no idea this program existed. I would highly recommend it to any other business owner.”

If you are a business owner or work in a business where a Beech Grove High School student might benefit from working with you, please contact Mrs. Paige Anderson, at panderson@bgcs.k12.in.us.

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