Wayfinder Schools Internship Program Prepares Students for the Future

Posted on Monday March 5, 2012

Sixteen year old Brandon Porter is currently enrolled in Wayfinder Schools’ Residential Program in New Gloucester. This rigorous nine-month program is open to any Maine student from the ages of 16 to 20 and emphasizes the importance of lessons learned outside the classroom, as well as inside. A major component of the curriculum includes internship placements with local businesses based on the interests of the students.

Wayfinder Schools student Brandon Porter discovers his knack for woodworking during his internship with J.D. Sullivan and Sons Lumber in New Gloucester

Porter has participated in two internships since his enrollment in the program. Earlier in the year Porter interned with an established cabinet maker in Auburn. He now works at J.D. Sullivan and Sons Lumber in New Gloucester. Porter’s favorite part of the internships is that they are hands on, allowing him to develop a skill set that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn in a traditional academic setting.

The oldest of five children, Porter came to Wayfinder Schools to set a good example for his younger siblings. Porter understands that getting a good education, a degree, and solid life skills will enable him to have a better future. Porter has learned through both internship positions that he has a knack for working with wood. He recently made a skateboard, which, to no surprise on the part of Wayfinder Schools’ staff, he sent to his younger brother.

“He showed me the skateboard and said, ‘I need to mail this to my brother,’” remembers Residential Program Director Margo Fowler. “That’s just the kind of person he is. Even while he’s here, he’s the glue in his family.”

Porter’s helpful attitude and good work ethic have made him an asset at Sullivan and Sons. Bookkeeper and matriarch of the business Dottie Sullivan reflected, “Brandon works hard and we can tell that he’s taking in as many skills as he can. Everyone likes having him around.”

Porter and his peers in the Residential Program will be graduating in June. While he isn’t positive about what he’ll do after graduation, he does plan to be with his siblings and explore his career opportunities, using the skills and lessons he developed during his time at Wayfinder Schools and in his internships.

To learn more about Wayfinder Schools Residential Program and the Career Explorations Program, visit www.wayfinderschools.org/residential-program/work-program.