Teens on the job

August 25, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

Cars, clothes, music, college, to avoid boredom.

These are some of the reasons local high school students work not just in the summer, but during the school year.

Kyla Carbaugh, 16, of Hagerstown, has worked at the Bass store at Prime Outlets at Hagerstown since last Thanksgiving.

"It gives you something to do during the afternoons. You always have that extra spending money," Kyla said.

Kyla, who will be a senior at South Hagerstown High School, spends her earnings on school clothes, compact discs, her cell-phone bill and car insurance.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 26 percent of high school students ages 15 to 17 were holding down a job in October 2000.


Many students work summer jobs, but as high school students grow more independent - preparing for college, owning their own car and doing their own shopping - they often keep working once the school year starts.

As with other students who work year-round, Kyla's 40-hour-a-week work schedule will be scaled back when school begins. Kyla estimates she works 20 hours a week during the school year.

"You don't have to come to work every day," she said.

She usually goes to Bass three days a week after classes.

If Melanie Mauck, 17, of Hagerstown, needs to change her schedule at the Woolrich outlet to accommodate school demands, her bosses let her, she said. If she works 5 to 9:30 p.m. on a school night, Melanie said, she goes home and does her homework first.

Melanie took the job a year ago so she could buy clothes and CDs, and save for college.

Mark McLaughlin, 17, of the Waynesboro, Pa., area, has been working at Pictures Plus in Waynesboro since the end of January.

"Mostly because I needed money car-wise and for college," he said. "My parents are going to help me out and everything, but I'm going to need money for other things."

Mark gave up playing baseball to work after school because he won't be able to get a baseball scholarship to art college. He wants to learn about animation to make movies and video games.

In the summer, Mark works at Pictures Plus 51/2 days a week and spends another day mowing and cleaning pools. Once school starts, he estimated, he works 30 hours a week.

"There's not a whole lot of down time," Mark said.

Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School senior Holly Lemaster started working at KB Toys outlet about a month ago. This is the first job she's taken that's year-round.

"I needed one, with a car and stuff like that," said Holly, 17, of Falling Waters, W.Va. Holly also plans to save half of her income for college.

Izod employee and South High senior Miranda Behanna, 17, began working year-round so she would have money for clothes and to buy a car after getting tired of asking friends for a ride, she said.

After working at various jobs, including a tanning salon, an ice cream shop and a couple of clothing stores, Miranda bought a used Nissan Pulsar. Now her earnings go toward gasoline and car improvements.

Aldair Soriano, 15, of Middletown, Md., has helped out at his father's grocery stores, La Chiquita, in Hagerstown and Frederick, Md., since he was 12, he said.

Aldair earns spending money, but he also does it to help his family.

"I usually finish homework the same day I get it," he said, allowing him time to work at the stores on weekends during the school year. Occasionally, he works on school days.

Lashonda Wilson, 17, of Hagerstown, has been working during the school year since she was 14.

"So I can have extra money because I have to pay for driving school, school supplies. So I decided to take a job of my own on and help my mom out," said Lashonda, the oldest of four children.

Lashonda, who works at Subway at Prime Outlets, said she's also trying to save money for a car and college.

"My bank account's not very big, though," said the Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School student.

Besides providing her money, work allows Lashonda to meet new people, do new things and learn about business, she said.

Boredom prompted Christine Brooks, 16, of Funkstown, to get a job at Wonder Book & Video more than a year ago.

"I finally hit the point where summer vacation just wasn't entertaining anymore," said Christine, who is transferring to North Hagerstown High School this year.

During her job interview, the possibility of working year-round came up and Christine said she was happy with that.

"I love it. It gives me something to do and it's only part time so it's not too draining on my schedule," Christine said.

The job also gives Christine a discount, which is good since she was spending a lot of time at the store before working there, she said.

"I spent enough time there already. I figured why not get paid for it?" Christine said.

Web sites for work laws

For details, visit:

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and

West Virginia Division of

U.S. Department of

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