Taking what they’re given
Some Eudora High students trade school work for summertime labor
While summertime may mean shedding sweaters and long sleeves, many Eudora High students say it doesn't mean shedding responsibilities. In fact, it is common to find students who have traded in their academic obligations for working-world duties. The reason for sacrificing their time is generally agreed upon; summer fun requires summer funds.
"I need all the extra money I can get," Sheena Warrington, 17, said. "I like to be able to buy things, and I especially need a reliable car."
To make the most of her earning abilities, Warrington works two jobs. She waitresses at Cutter's Smokehouse and Pub, 726 Main St., and Gambino's Pizza, 1402D Church St. She said she appreciated flexible hours and the close proximity her job sites provided, but her age played the biggest part in her occupational choices.
"I first started at Gambino's when I was 15," she said. "A person that age doesn't have many options, because I couldn't drive anywhere. I like it here for the most part, and I just sort of stuck around and ended up picking up another job in town."
Eudora Gambino's owner Aaron Boden said he was happy to employ students like Warrington. With a staff almost completely comprised of EHS students, Boden said he was familiar with the ups and downs of employing young locals.
"Student-aged kids are often very involved in activities," he said. "It's not my place to tell them not to go out and make plans and participate; you're only in high school for a few years. They're great people. I just enjoy having them around as long as I can."
Bill Harlow, Eudora city superintendent, agreed that hiring students could be a positive experience. Harlow signs on a small number of students to work for the city during the summer. Jobs include working with the water, sewer and street departments to patch, paint, clean and cut whatever needs maintenance.
"In my opinion, students are the way to go," Harlow said. "They're willing to do what needs to be done, and they learn several valuable trades doing it."
Zac Tyler, 17, said the job's benefits outweigh the hard work.
"I think it helps prepare me for the real world," he said. "I also like the fresh air and the fact that I'm not stuck indoors all day."
Tyler works with friend and fellow student Tommy Shutt, 17, who said he planned to continue working with the city through the end of his high school career.
"It's my second year doing this, and I'll probably do it again next year," Shutt said. "Outside of fast food and that type of job, there really aren't a lot of job options in town for people our age. It'd be nice to be able to explore other job fields."
Looking outside Eudora for work appealed to 16-year-old Bree Knight. Knight, a carhop at Sonic Drive-In, 1420 Church St., said she decided to expand her second job to another zip code. She recently took a temporary job at Travel Expo in Leawood.
"Sonic is probably the best-paying job in Eudora for students, and it's also a lot of fun," she said. "But I am also happy to have a job outside of town. It's a 45-minute drive and it takes a lot of gas, but it's such a different experience with different people. It's a nice change."
Harold Stewart, Eudora Sonic general manager, said that while he understands some students' need to escape monotony, he hoped they would consider staying within city limits when it comes to job searching.
"There may not be a lot of market outside the service industry in town, but the community benefits from having local student employees," he said. "People like to see familiar faces around here. I really enjoy teaching student workers and watching them grow. I know the pull of other towns or the start of the school year may persuade them to go, but I hate losing them."