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North Salem Seniors Present O.P.T.I.O.N.S.

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Hundreds of students, teachers, parents, mentors and community members gathered at North Salem High School on Thursday evening for the annual senior O.P.T.I.O.N.S. (Opportunities for Professional Training In-and-Out of North Salem) presentation.

The goal of O.P.T.I.O.N.S. is to help seniors cross the threshold from school to career. With the help of faculty members and community mentors, students get to learn about issues in the workplace, research a field of their choice, and apply their newly found knowledge and skills to a professional setting as an intern.

Principal Patricia Cyganovich said, “The mission of the North Salem schools is to engage students to continually learn, question, define and ultimately solve problems through critical and creative thinking. 

“O.P.T.I.O.N.S. – and this evening – has really become the capstone of that experience," she said. It starts at PQ (Pequenakonck Elementary School) and ends here as young people get ready to move on beyond North Salem.”

After the opening remarks, panelists, judges and moderators were assigned to a classroom where they watched a small group of students give their presentations.

Robert Feldman explained that he worked in the Venue Services department at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. He learned about traffic control, time management, customer satisfaction, statistical analysis and more. 

Anna Bartsch interned as a veterinary assistant at the Goldens Bridge Veterinary Care Center, so she dressed in hospital scrubs for her presentation and brought a standard poodle, Jill, along to act as the subject of a mock veterinary examination. 

Amanda Jesser, who wants to study anthropology in college, explained that since anthropological field work wasn't possible she studied jewelry merchandising at an office in Manhattan. “I figured that when I go into anthropology, I might come across old jewelry and now I know about it.” 

Cory Cerosky worked in Bridgeport, Conn., building power boats that can go up to 250 mph. Nicole Capra’s interest in physical therapy brought her to a large practice in Somers. 

After the presentations, panelists and observers asked questions like, “What new skills have you gained? What was the most difficult obstacle? What surprises did you encounter? Do you feel more or less enthusiastic about the field you chose?”

Barsch said she was worried about how she would respond if an animal died. Fortunately, it did not happen and the ultimate reward was that she was offered a summer job.

Jesser was surprised at how informal the business meetings were. She also said that there was more discrimination against women than she had expected.

Although she enjoyed it and learned a lot, Capra said that since she interned in a large practice, she would now like to find out what it’s like to work at a smaller business.

Cerosky was surprised to find out, “how many people order boats and then can’t pay for them.” He too has a summer job as a result of his internship.

Feldman described his efforts to project the number of people who would attend the June 1 game between the Mets and the Cardinals. The full capacity of Citi Field is 42,000, he said. The average number of attendees is around 27,000. Taking into account the weather, the popularity of the Cardinals team, various promotions and other factors, Feldman estimated a crowd of 32,000.

In fact, the number of ticket buyers came to roughly the average. "Based on my projections I'd be paying too much for overhead and hot dogs," said Feldman. “So I guess I'm not a professional yet."

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