Students step into real world |

Students step into real world

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune
Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily TribuneGerry DeYoung, second from right, shows South Lake Tahoe Middle School students, from left, Martin Rider, DC Smith, Conor Freeman and Jared Wood an expansion joint on the roof of Embassy Suites on Tuesday.

Braces, cracked voices and peach fuzz filled Embassy Suites Tuesday during the 10th annual Wide World of Work.

The program whittles down 443 South Tahoe Middle School students to 53 through an employment interview process. Students learned how to go through the job search obstacle course by creating a workable resume, nailing the interview and then, if they passed, getting a job they picked from a list — such as running the hotel.

“It’s a real-life experience. It broadens our experience and shows what it’s like to be an adult,” Mari Peshon, 13, said. Peshon received the general manager job along with good friend James Moore, also 13.

“We wanted competition,” Moore said. “We really wanted to be the head.”

The two tagged alongside Simeon Miranda, general manager of Embassy Suites, while talking excitedly among themselves. The pair was giddy with indirect power.

Many students talked of the two days at Embassy Suites as a “real-life experience.” Marilyn Pawling, a counselor at South Tahoe Middle School, commented on the program while sitting in Miranda’s office. Water from a large fountain lapped against the windows.

“We try to make it as close as possible to a real world experience,” she said. “The paper gets you the interview but the interview gets you the job.”

“That’s the reality,” Miranda said behind his desk.

The trio of general managers left to do “paperwork and do the tour of the hotel,” Peshon said. Pawling meandered around the facility, taking pictures with a disposable camera.

At times the front desk was filled with about a dozen people: all wearing bronze name tags. All wearing ties or clean shirts.

Steven Gaughan, 13, worked the front desk as a supervisor. He was afraid of messing up while checking people in and out.

“I thought it was cool because they don’t pick all the sporty people or smart people or the most popular people,” he said, speaking with the friendliness of a front desk supervisor.

Mary Ann Rosaroso also worked the front desk.

“Normally at school the kids are immature but here they act all professional,” Rosaroso said. “The best thing is being out of school and getting experience out of this.”

Down a white corridor, past the housekeeping break room and into the industrial kitchen were Rogelio Garcia, 14, and Bailey Flood, 13. They stood watching Executive Chef Roy Choi cook a chorizo clam demi-glaze for a filet mignon to be served over a seared polenta patty.

“As you can see we have a three plate pickup here,” Choi said. The two students nodded their heads.

“You want a little height in your dish,” Choi added, as he dropped a couple of clams over the polenta and then lowered the filet for the topping. Green basil and red chili oil completed the presentation.

Garcia said he is familiar with kitchens since his father used to be the banquet manager at Caesars Tahoe and previously owned a restaurant.

Both kids were not sure if they wanted to pursue a career in the food and beverage industry, but it is an option, they said.

Garcia said his favorite part was “making wow food” and he will take home his cooking lessons, like “how to make that yummy sauce.”

Most of the students interviewed have grand aspirations for their future. Moore and Peshon, the junior general mangers, want to go to medical school and law school, respectively. Gaughan, the front desk supervisor, wants to be an international environmental lawyer.

But, for now, they will have to settle for jobs at a five star hotel.

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