Hello Moms and Dads,
Some of our Down Under crew have trips to Cairns and Melbourne in the making. It’s exciting to see these guys spread their wings and explore new places.
Last Friday, Eli, Jack, and Henry were kind enough to host a pizza party. We provided the pizza and drinks in exchange for pictures from each student to share with you folks. As you can see by the lack of attached pics, they ate their end of the bargain but left me to make due with flowery prose.
With full stomachs, they watched a documentary on Australian Aboriginals. The dance performance and lecture up in the Blue Mountains stirred a lot of questions; this video helped provide some answers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAG3Zxeru18&t=294s. And if you want to see one of the great first contact stories in human history, take a look at https://www.amazon.com/Extraordinary-Tale-William-Buckley-Australias/product-reviews/B00YK86ZPW It’s worth the Amazon rental price. The triumph and heartbreak will stay with you for some time.
Tibor Lendvai paused the video several times to share his insights and answer questions. He has taught sections on Aboriginal history and knows leaders in the Aboriginal community of Sydney.
As we now have a few weeks under our belt, let me provide some insight into how this crew is doing on their internships.
Will and Gabe are working as writers at Alt Media Newspaper and have cranked out seven articles a piece. They also assist on marketing when needed. Check out Gabe’s Herding Cats article (kudos on the title) http://www.altmedia.net.au/council-tries-herding-cats/134418 and Will’s http://www.altmedia.net.au/project-minding madness/134376. These guys are giving me a good name with the editor. By the time they are done, they will need an extra page for their CV’s! Way to go.
Jack also works at the paper. He is focused on the advertising side and has helped create a marketing plan for a guide to the Newtown community. Jack approaches local businesses for sponsorship and has been a key player in getting the project off the ground. The ads he sells fund the columns in the guidebook. He has a bright future ahead of him should he continue in this field and has learned the skills needed to create an income stream for a company.
Annika and Nick continue to thrive at Marketing Eye. Both earned high praise from the owner of this international firm when they cranked out some well-crafted blogs for their website. The owner said their skillsets were beyond the Sydney college seniors that typically apprentice there. Annika noted the one thing about Lawrenceville graduates is that they graduate knowing how to write. A note from my pen to the headmaster is in order to thank them for churning out Gappers that can handle this level of responsibility and independence.
Henry takes the cake for the coolest job title: Game Master. His duties are articulated in a detailed pamphlet that paid staff members are tested on before earning that title. After seeing Henry’s ability with computer programming and his deft handling of guests, Mark (the owner) promoted him. Henry does exactly what Mark does. He greets visitors to Virtual Room and gives them an overview of how the games are played. Henry straps guests into their headsets and delivers them to Mars with a few meager tools to survive. He then mans the mainframe computer and observes the games in real time. He gives hints to the players when they become stuck or frustrated and troubleshoots the software should any glitches arise. Each time I call to check in, Mark has only high praise for Henry’s efforts and ability.
Eli has been pounding the pavement with dogs in tow at Paw Republic. City ordinance allows him to walk up to four at a time down the suburban streets and he has come to know Crow’s Nest very well. After walks, he heads upstairs and minds the pack. The mixture of breeds and personalities keeps him on his toes. Eli’s main job is to stop fights before they start. He knows who the troublemakers are. He and the staff mark their calendars for the days that the rascals arrive.
Louis and Nina are in the trenches with runny-nosed kids. They are working with three-to-fives and are vigilant to ensure keep playdough on the table and away from mouths. Both received high praise from the manager for their ability to immerse themselves in the daily activities of the center. These two have extensive training and experience with kids. I suggested they read a chapter each night on early childhood theories to augment their experience. One thing textbooks cannot capture is the frustration of catching a cold bug from someone else’s kid. Louis learned that the hard way.
Mason is the first of the bunch to get a formal job offer. Working at Cork and Canvas, he does event planning for corporate groups. A sip and paint joint, C & C promotes team building and likely some office romances by combining wine with paint tins. Melinda, the owner, is from Philly and works fifteen-hour-days managing two facilities while opening a third in nearby Crow’s Nest. Once she saw how fast Mason mastered the software, she turned over a section of the business to him. She told me, “all that kid needs to do is call me when he graduates and I will give him a career.”
Max is rubbing shoulders with the creative class at one of the most respected sound studios in Australia. The manager was kind enough to have him and Nina over for dinner during the first week and they have had a successful partnership ever since. Max has been in close quarters with composers and studio artists working on the scores for movies and documentaries. He has likewise been allotted his own space to polish his own musical endeavors. Max arrived to the program with an impressive portfolio and this internship has allowed him to see what it takes to reach the next level.
Spencer has been splitting time on three different projects. He has been working as a teacher at an art studio that caters to the Chinese community of Sydney. He goes from student-to-student to help them learn the craft. The cultural immersion is as interesting as the job duties. Next, he has been assisting and Cork and Canvas open the new studio and with corporate functions. During events, Spencer assumes the same role as the paid staff and serves as an Artist in Residence. In his own words: “Once the clients have had too much to drink, it’s up to me to help them finish their paintings.” If you ever wondered where art majors end up, look no further. Spencer has also completed a survey of local art galleries in the city. He and I are working on an article to submit for publication at the newspaper about a new gallery opening.
Matt gets the award for the longest hours of the bunch. He clocks in at 9 and finishes at 5 every day at the PR firm. Once the owner saw Matt’s skill sets, she assigned him work with her high-end clients. He has garnered high praise for his production from Day One. The firm specializes in promoting children’s wear. Matt has been dutiful in learning the latest fashions of the four-foot-and-under crowd.
While all of the above praise may sound a bit Pollyannaish, I can assure you this is not just a case of me being a glass half-full kind of guy. I have had my share of half-empties (and broken glasses) over the years and can say without equivocation this is the most dutiful group I have had on Intern Down Under. As they are also the youngest, that speaks volumes to the parents and counselors who knew they could rise to the occasion. Fear of failure in a foreign country can be a motivating factor. Or, maybe, they are all just cool cats. Either way, there has not been one bad report from any of the hosts. Matt’s and Henry’s internships were on life support owing to poor past performance by a couple of interns. They rescued them. The newspaper had a student on the first course they asked to leave. The great effort by Gabe, Will, and Jack ensures that our interns will be welcome for years to come. I provide that as a backdrop so you know just how well these guys are doing.