A Heavenly experience | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A Heavenly experience

Remember what it was like the first time you interviewed for a job? Well, it’s an experience South Tahoe Middle School eighth-graders will not soon forget.

Heavenly Ski Resort interviewed more than 200 anxiety-ridden eighth-graders last week as part of a school career program called “The Heavenly Experience.”

Large groups of nervous, pint-sized applicants waited outside the school library, tapping their feet, biting their nails and waiting for their turn in the hot seat. Their biggest fear?

“What if I mess up?” asked Jaime Amundson, 13. “It’s scary because I might.”

Fifty-eight successful student applicants were chosen Monday to work at Heavenly Feb. 1 and 2 as part of the two-day program designed to give kids a glimpse into South Shore’s job market.

“I think this program is excellent,” said Brenda Heinecke, human resources coordinator at Heavenly. “It’s great. So many of these kids are just so excited. We’d love to take them all on but we can only take about 50.”

Before interviewing with the resort, students were required to write resumes and cover letters and fill out an application.

About 15 Heavenly department heads stationed themselves in middle school library to meet Friday with prospective student employees.

“I’m really nervous,” 13-year-old Emily Burke said before her interview. “I want to get a job this summer because I want to take responsibility and this would be a really good experience. I’m just going to try to be myself in there. I’m applying at day care because I love kids and people tell me I’m good with kids.”

Rudy Garcia, 14, applied for a snowmaking position.

“I’m nervous about talking in the interview,” he said before being called in. “I’m just going to keep good eye contact, stay calm and answer all the person’s questions. I want to do snowmaking because I live right by Heavenly and I always see them blowing snow up there and I want to know what it’s all about.”

Chelsea Dunn, 14, practiced her interview skills with her mom.

“I’m not really nervous because my mom practiced with me and asked me a lot of questions,” she said. “I’d rather practice going up against her than the Heavenly people.”

Heavenly Ski Patrol manager Ed Roe said it is easy to tell which kids have confidence.

“Some of these kids are doing really well,” he said Friday morning. “It’s obvious who has been prepped by their parents and who hasn’t.”

Ashley Bratton, 14, said she did pretty well in her interview.

“I think I did a pretty good job,” she said. “I kind of had a problem on one of the questions when they asked me why they should hire me because it’s kind of hard to brag about yourself. I don’t really like doing that.”

Middle school counselor Marilyn Pawling, who also headed the Wide World of Work program in conjunction with Embassy Suites, said taking kids through the interview process is a good experience for future employment.

“What I was really surprised about was Heavenly interviewed every single student who applied,” Pawling said. “Everyone who turned in paperwork is actually getting an interview.”

Thirteen-year-old John Comeau said he is grateful for that opportunity.

“I feel if you work in any job it will help you in the future with other jobs,” he said. “I’m a little nervous about my interview. I’m afraid I’ll say ‘um’ a lot and you’re not supposed to.”

But Comeau said Pawling prepared him for the interview and offered a lot of tips.

“Wear clean clothes. Comb your hair. Be polite and always have good eye contact,” he said. “Oh, and always smile.”

Students who were not hired for the Embassy Suites program or the Heavenly program will have another chance to apply for a two-day position at the year’s final school-to-career program at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

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