Jessica Cordes walks around Washington Primary School with confidence and a smile on her face. The Huntington High School senior is interning in a third grade classroom and is enjoying the experience.
Ms. Cordes wants to be an elementary school teacher, so she enrolled in the high school’s career internship program. She’s working with veteran classroom teacher Suzanne Dinehart. The full-year internship is worth one academic credit, but it’s really much more valuable.
A member of Habitat for Humanity and Huntington’s Relay For Life committee, Ms. Cordes is firmly plugged into life at the high school. The teenager played on the Blue Devil varsity tennis team that captured the Suffolk League II title with an undefeated record and reached the county playoffs. “The girls and Coach [Jamie] Fishlow made it an unforgettable experience,” she said.
The senior’s current schedule includes Bible Literature, Advanced Algebra, Forensics, Italian 5, Economics and the career internship that brings her to Washington School each day.
“I have just applied to SUNY Cortland, Oneonta and Potsdam and the University of Maine,” the teenager said. “I also plan on applying to the University of Connecticut, University of Rhode Island, and Penn State University. I plan on studying elementary education.”
A personable young woman
A personable young woman with an outgoing personality, Ms. Cordes has formed many fruitful relationships with Huntington’s faculty members over the years. “I have been particularly close with Mrs. [Joann] Ferazi and Mr. [Edward] Florea,” the senior said. “I am also lucky enough to have Mr. [Steven] Lashin as my guidance counselor. I go to him for any advice I may need or any issue that I’m having.”
A full academic schedule along with sports and club activities didn’t stop Ms. Cordes from experiencing a taste of international travel with EF Tours. “I was fortunate enough to get to travel to Costa Rica last year with Ms. [Camille] Tedeschi,” she said. “I learned so much and had so many laughs with my friends.”
The return to Washington School this fall has been a wonderful experience for Ms. Cordes. “I was pleased to be able to intern with Ms. Dinehart, who was my second grade teacher,” the teenager said. “I am greeted with such big hugs by all the little girls in my third grade class. I get to help the kids one-on-one with their math problems or their reading and writing assignments in the class. I truly do love seeing them learn and prosper.”
Hopes to accomplish “great things”
Two months into her senior year, Ms. Cordes is making the most of each day. “I hope to accomplish great things this year,” she said. “Some of which include getting into one of my top three schools and learning a lot from my internship at Washington Primary School. I want to major in elementary education, so having the chance to work with a third grade class is really exciting.”
When Ms. Cordes does graduate from college and obtain her teaching certification and is able to stand in front of her own class of students, one gets the sense they will be very fortunate youngsters.
“I have had a fantastic high school experience here at Huntington,” Ms. Cordes said. “I have made so many great memories, which include having the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and participating in Relay For Life, an event that all my friends and family are a part of. It’s an incredible thing to see how the entire community gets together to put on this great event.”
The years have passed very quickly since the teenager began kindergarten. “My overall experience in Huntington has been the utmost joyful journey,” Ms. Cordes said. “Being at Huntington, you are constantly supported by your peers, the teachers and the community as a whole.”
When she sits down and thinks about it, the senior finds it hard to believe that her run through Huntington is nearing an end.
“My advice for incoming freshmen would be to cherish the memories you make throughout these four years because they do go by fast,” Ms. Cordes said. “They will be some of the best times of your life. Get involved. Go to games, join clubs and make as many friends as you can! You’ll be glad you did!”