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Special School District of St. Louis County
Summer Internship Program
Benefits Students, District

SSD is committed to the belief that all students can be successful. This summer, the District put that belief into practice by hiring three technical high school students to work as summer interns in its technology services department.

“Troubleshooting, investigating and looking for the next solution” is how Eric Gray described the job. “We even got to take computers apart and go inside.”

Eric, who aspires to be a network engineer, is a senior at SSD's North Technical High School and is part of the CISCO Networking Academy class there.

The interns' primary task was to refresh, update and perform maintenance on nearly 600 student devices, getting them ready to use for the 2015-2016 school year.

The internship idea was put in motion by SSD’s Director of Technical Support, Bretta Slagle, who recognized that the District had students at both North and South Technical high schools that were highly knowledgeable in the field of technology. That, combined with added demand on technology personnel during the summer months, brought the concept to reality, according to Slagle. The idea received an enthusiastic thumbs-up from human resources, and the Technology Summer Internship Program was born.

Nick Remphry, a May graduate of South Tech and Lindbergh High School, said the internship was a golden opportunity for him.

“My teacher really encouraged me to go for it,” he said. “I’m really glad it was something they started.”

The internship was Eric’s first true job, as is the case for Innocent Niyibizi. A senior at Mehlville High School and South Tech, where he is in the Computer Programming class, Innocent said the internship was important in helping him grow throughout the summer.

“I’m glad I got the internship,” he said. “Otherwise I would have been sitting at home watching television instead of reading my programming books.”

Both Innocent and Eric mentioned how the internship gave them a solid base on which to grow.

“I’m more confident now that I’ve gotten to do this,” Innocent said. “And I’ve learned a lot, like how to shorten the Windows update process.”

“It’s given me a foundation of working with other people on a day-to-day basis,” Eric said.

Along with working on the primary project of updating student devices, Eric has been able to take his learning a step further by assisting those that called into the technology help desk.

Nick, who began his studies at Washington University this fall, also expanded into assisting with desktop support. Innocent spent some time working with Marcus Shane, SSD's database analyst, to get firsthand database experience.

“It takes a lot of patience to fix computers—patience and knowledge,” Nick said.

All three interns increased their knowledge and credentials during the summer, as they each earned Dell certification. The certifications show that they demonstrated technical knowledge of Dell devices and are proficient in being able to order parts for repair.

“I think it has been a big success and hope to continue this program in the future,” said Slagle.

Published October 2015

photo of tech interns
Pictured (front to back): Innocent Niyibizi, Eric Gray and Nick Remphry

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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