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NFHS intern reflects on time at NFP

Fri, Feb 17th 2017 05:50 pm
Niagara Falls High School senior Isabella Casilio works on a story for the Island Dispatch. (Photo by Larry Austin)
Niagara Falls High School senior Isabella Casilio works on a story for the Island Dispatch. (Photo by Larry Austin)

By Isabella Casilio

Niagara Falls High School is home to a business internship class that benefits many seniors and juniors. I am one of many seniors at NFHS who are in the internship class. The passion for writing has been with me for years, and it has been my dream since middle school to be some type of writer. When hearing about the class, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about a field I enjoy and to gain hands-on experience before college.

The business class creates an opportunity for students to gain experience in their future careers before making any commitments to colleges specifically for that career field. Students in this business class intern for various careers, including hospitality, dentistry, business, theater arts and law enforcement. My career field that I have chosen is journalism, and after choosing this career path my business teacher connected me with Niagara Frontier Publications based on Grand Island. The company has had numerous interns before me.

NFP has been a big part of my life for the past four months. I often look forward to going there after school several times a week. The people who work there also make the experience helpful, but at the same time enjoyable. The editors of the papers you likely read (especially if you're reading this) are Joshua Maloni, Larry Austin, Lauren Zaepfel and Terry Duffy. They have taught me more about journalism and writing than I could ever learn on my own or at school. I have been able to write my own articles, which have been published in numerous papers, conduct interviews and edit articles that the editors gave to me.

I couldn't have asked for more of a pleasant environment to intern in; the NFP staff has been nothing but kind and helpful, never getting angry or aggravated when I had a question to ask. This has me leaving NFP each day feeling positive and encouraged.

I was always told by all the editors that I was free to write about anything that interested me. I wrote about a performance at my school. This made me see that being a journalist didn't have to be a dream anymore. I have been able to open up and discover what I am good at and comfortable with, all while being around big-hearted individuals who made me feel comfortable enough to act like myself while teaching me how a journalist works and what to expect if I wanted to follow through with this career after college.

When I first started at NFP, Terry (The Sentinel editor) told me that I would be editing articles and reformatting them, maybe even getting to interview someone for a story. I was nervous; I am often uncomfortable while talking to new people who I have not met before, so this was a new, semi-scary adventure that I was getting myself into. But let me say each day I sat at my desk with new assignments I felt less and less nervous with the editors encouraging me. I did eventually get to call and conduct an interview, and it was not as scary as my imagination pictured it to be.

Sometimes I would edit press releases for days, but it never made me feel bored, because I was able to learn more about the proper way of editing while getting to read about events that occurred locally. This internship has made me a better writer and more confident when it comes to journalism skills.

As I near my last few days at NFP, I would like to say a huge "Thank you" to the editors. Thank you, Josh, for always being understanding and helping me see my errors in the articles that I wrote, all while having humor to make me feel better if I thought I did everything wrong. Thank you, Terry, for giving me a chance with this internship that I will remember for the rest of my life as one of the reasons I continued to enjoy writing. Thank you, Larry, for constantly make me laugh by saying and showing me things that would always make me enjoy coming to NFP. Lastly, thank you, Lauren, for connecting with me by showing me that it's possible to make it in journalism as a female surrounded by males (it was highly motivating), and also brightening my time at NFP with your lighthearted personality.

This time I have spent at NFP would not have been possible without the amazing internship program that NFHS has created, so I'd also like to thank Mr. Colangelo, the teacher who is in charge of the program.

I would add that if anyone knows any students at NFHS, encourage them to join this class/program. The experiences that I have had at NFP have been nothing short of eventful and exciting, and I know I will miss going to NFP and interacting with everyone when my internship comes to an end. This has shown me a real environment in a career I intend on going into, and has been the first step in my journalism career.

I will always be grateful for it.

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