School district pays students to fill vacant jobs

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 3:24 PM EDT
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HERMON, New York (WWNY) - Students at Edwards-Knox Central School are earning money during school hours by actually working for the school district. It’s part of the district’s efforts to fill vacant positions while giving students their first working experience.

Some juniors and seniors aren’t just going to class, they’re also earning money during the school day during their free periods.

It’s part of a project that began two years ago when high school Principal Amy Sykes saw that there were some positions within the school that needed to be filled during certain times of the day.

One such position was cafeteria monitor for elementary students.

“Because it is a limited amount of time during the school day, we were struggling to find employees that were able to fit into those slots. So as we were brainstorming, one of the thoughts we had was to bring students in and help them develop some of those soft skills and reliability to again meet the 21st Century needs for students and also provide some cash in their pockets,” said Sykes.

Student Cadey Wheat is one of those cafeteria monitors who works five days a week keeping an eye on the elementary kids.

“I did it last year when we had the program and I really enjoyed it and I applied for it again this year, but it’s just a good source of income for me because I can’t do a lot after sports,” said Wheat.

Students can also apply to work as fitness center monitors. Levi LaRue works there and says that given the rural area around the school, there aren’t as many work opportunities for students.

“I think it’s pretty important for people who can’t make money outside school - especially people that have home life too and weekends normally get busy for people on vacation time, so they can make a little extra cash for vehicles and other stuff,” said LaRue.

Students go through the same application and hiring process as anyone else applying for a position in the school district.

District Superintendent Erin Woods says the program has become so successful in its two years, that other school districts such as Morristown and Heuvelton have reached out to Edwards-Knox to help start their own programs.

“We see it as a really a valuable program for all kids and if we can lend that experience that we have to other districts so they can grow that program, even better,” said Woods.