baxendale1Senior Robert Baxendale of Arlington Heights enjoys performing on stage at Saint Viator High School, both in its musicals and fall plays. Consequently, when searching for the right fit in its Summer Work Study & Internship Program, officials found just the ticket: an internship at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in downtown Arlington Heights.

Last summer, Robbie operated the spotlight for a variety of stage productions at the theater, which meant learning to follow complicated lighting cues. He also assisted in the marketing department, enabling him to get hands-on experience both behind the scenes of the stage and its administrative departments while earning valuable dollars toward his tuition.

A pair of local businessmen sponsored his internship: Jim Mitchell, a Saint Viator alumnus and owner of Mitchell Marketing as well as attorney Steve Daday, a Saint Viator parent.

Sponsoring students at nonprofit organizations is just one way for business partners to support Saint Viator’s innovative program. The work study program places interns at work sites of participating business partners, who contribute $3,000 toward the student’s tuition.

Saint Viator will host a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. Jan. 23 in Querbes Hall of the school, for current and prospective business partners to learn more about the program. Participating students and current employers will be on hand to share their experiences.

Tom O’Neill, a 1988 graduate of Saint Viator and CEO of the Würth Group in Vernon Hills, says originally, he wanted to support the program as a way of giving back to his school. After sponsoring his first intern, he realized his company gained far more from their young intern than they expected.

“I have to say, Alex did more for our company than we did for Alex,” O’Neill says of Alex Thorn ’17, who sponsored two interns last summer. “His attitude and willingness to take on new projects changed the culture of our IT department.”

Saint Viator always seeks to add more corporate partners. This year’s list includes Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in Rolling Meadows, Kelleher & Buckley in North Barrington, Midwest Glaucoma Center in Hoffman Estates, MK Industries in Vernon Hills, Rose Packing Company in South Barrington, UHY Advisors, and a CPA firm in Chicago to name a few.

Nonprofits include: Catholic Charities in Des Plaines, Citizens for Conservation in Barrington, Journeys and the Road Home in Palatine and Norwood Crossing in Chicago. Nonprofit jobs are sponsored by generous individuals who cannot provide jobs themselves but want to support the program.

At each site, students work five, eight-hour days for a period of six weeks during the summer. Ideally, Saint Viator tries to pair the student with a company or organization that reflects the student’s interest.

Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring a Saint Viator intern should contact Kirsten Nozime, coordinator of the Summer Work Study and Internship Program. Call her at 847-392-4050, ext. 268, or email svcwsp@saintviator.com.