Summer jobs finance students’ fun
While summertime may mean shedding sweaters and long sleeves, many De Soto High School students say it doesn't mean shedding responsibilities. In fact, it is common to find students who have traded in their academic obligations for working-world duties. The reason for sacrificing their time is generally agreed upon: summer fun requires summer funds.
"Everything that goes on during the summer takes money," William Armstrong, 17, said. "That means getting a job."
Armstrong, who works at McDonald's, 34225 Commerce Drive, said he took the job because McDonald's was the first establishment to respond to his application.
"Nobody else ended up getting back to me soon enough, and I needed to start making money," he said. "It's an easy job and I don't really have a problem with it, but standing around on my feet all day is hard on the body."
De Soto McDonald's second assistant manager John Munsterman said that while only a few students are employed there, he appreciates the opportunity to share a workplace with them.
"I like working with students because they have fresh minds and sharp learning abilities," he said. "Unfortunately, we haven't been able to recruit many lately."
Munsterman admitted that the lack of McDonald's student workers may be related to Sonic Drive-In's arrival. De Soto Sonic Drive-In, West 91st Street, has a staff that includes about 43 students.
Reality Stottlemire, De Soto Sonic carhop, said she chose Sonic as her first-time job because of its atmosphere.
"I have friends who don't like their jobs at other food places in town; but Sonic seemed like a really fun place to work," Stottlemire said. "A lot of my friends come and hang out here and say hi to me, so I have a pretty good time."
Social ties are some of the benefits Sonic manager Chris Lowry said he sees in hiring student workers like Stottlemire.
"Student workers help create a fun atmosphere, and they bring their friends and have a good time," Lowry said. "They also tend to get involved in the community, which is great, because we would like the chance to sponsor community activities."
Carhop Maggie Michaelis said that while Sonic's positive reputation enhanced her decision to work there, her age also played a part in limiting her possibilities.
"I'm 15, so I don't have much of a choice when it comes to jobs," she said. "De Soto pretty much only has food service jobs for students, and because of my age I can't exactly drive myself out of town for something else."
Amber Peters, 16, took advantage of her driver's license and decided to expand her job possibilities to another zip code. Peters works as an umpire for Johnson County Girls Athletic Association in Shawnee.
"I thought about working at Sonic or someplace in town, but I wanted something different," she said. "I absolutely love my job at JCGAA, and it pays a lot better than anything I could get in De Soto. It's more of a trip out there, but it's worth it. Last year I worked one summer and was able to buy a car."
A close location still overruled the opportunity for a change of scenery and higher pay, Kristen Trahan said. Trahan, 16, works at De Soto Apple Market, 32515 Lexington Ave., and said she hasn't considered looking elsewhere.
"I need to work to save money for college, but gas prices are high and local jobs are more flexible," she said. "Fast food jobs didn't appeal to me, so I took the other choicethe grocery store. Maybe in a few years I might think about going outside of De Soto for work, but right now I don't mind staying."