Local high school students in the county’s summer intern program are recognized during Monday night’s meeting of the Warren County commissioners. Pictured from left to right are: Warren County Human Resources Manager Lisa Alston; County Extension Director Crystal Smith; intern Joey Richardson; superintendent of Warren County Schools Dr. Mary Young; school board member Victoria Lehman; intern Jada Chase; County Commissioners Jennifer Pierce, Victor Hunt and Bertadean Baker; intern Joshua Robison; County Commissioner Walter Powell; County Board Chairman Tare “T” Davis; and intern Jayvyn Batts.

High school students who participated in what was deemed the county’s most successful summer intern program yet were recognized during Monday night’s meeting of the Warren County commissioners.

County Human Resources manager Lisa Alston explained that adding a leadership component this year made all the difference in elevating the program, which included the interns submitting portfolios explaining what they gained from participation.

Four of the seven interns attended Monday’s commissioners’ meeting and were introduced to the board. They were Joshua Robison, Jayvyn Batts, Joey Richardson and Jada Chase. Those unable to attend were Ashanti Alston, Andrew Smith and La’Niyah Hargrove.

Prior to the meeting, County Extension Director Crystal Smith, who helped run the intern program, explained that, following orientation, the interns completed personality assessments that helped place them in county departments based on their strengths.

One in particular was highly organized and worked in the finance department; another was all about relationships and worked with veterans’ services.

Interns received training on business development, the do’s and don’ts of career readiness, work attire, relationships, and how to be responsible when they weren’t assigned a task for the day.

They also participated in team building on an outing to an amusement park in Wake County. The interns came from different schools and didn’t really know each other, so their activities gave them a chance to build bonds and offer each other encouragement beyond that day’s activities.

In late July, the rising high school juniors and seniors participated in 4-H Congress on the campus of N.C. State University in Raleigh, which Smith said helped expand their outlook beyond Warren County.

She said while at Congress, the interns enjoyed meeting new people, choosing workshop topics based on their interests, and learning leadership and time management skills.

Monday night, Smith read some of the interns’ portfolio comments. Highlights included being able to work with different people in the county and earning a paycheck. 

Among the most important things learned as summer interns were learning to be patient with people, facing the fear of public speaking, paying attention to detail and that a situation is what you make it.

In describing their experiences, summer interns said they gained knowledge that would help them in the future and that it was an overall great experience.