Big Picture High School students getting a jump start in the career field

Archer, the dog, is visiting the Cedar Veterinary Hospital in East Central Fresno for a routine check-up.

On Thursday, someone new was taking his vitals - intern and Big Picture High School junior Steven Maragoni.

It's something that's new for both of them. He is taking this challenge head-on because when he gets older, he said this is what he wants to do.

"I just want to be a doctor or at least someone in a hospital, so I can help the animals," said Maragoni.

His mentor, Michelle Padilla, has been with him over the last year, guiding him in the right direction.

"Basically the best part is being able to mold their future," said Padilla. "It would have been really nice when I was in high school to do an internship like this, so I could have gone to vet school."

Maragoni is one of about 30 students getting real-world experience while still attending high school. It is part of the Big Picture High curriculum. Students get matched with an internship based on their interests.

They can choose from medical to retail. Back at the charter school, they have to demonstrate what they learn.

"There is flexibility in this program where they can try many different facets of experience and then by the time they are seniors they have a pretty good idea of where they are going to go," said Jon Morse internship Coordinator.

Students dedicate at least one day of the week to their internship. Junior Jelani Lewis is working at Sportsman's Warehouse in Northeast Fresno. He loves fishing, so working in that department was a good fit.

"I started looking for fishing stores and fishing departments and I found this store," he said. "I live in the Madera Ranchos which is kind of close to this store."

He is learning marketing, stocking, and organization from his mentor, Pierre Matthews.

"He's a great kid, catches on really fast - no pun intended since we're in the fishing department," said Matthews. "He's a fun kid to work with."

Internship lengths can range from one semester to all four years of high school.
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