Three citizens of Great Falls explain how teenagers find time and success working a job and being in high school.

This was written by a student in the Introduction to Journalism class


Kenzi Brown, Introduction to Journalism Writer

High school is already tough, but now students have to find a way to make money to either get what they want, or survive. A graduate employee at Albertsons, Amy Mclinden explains how it feels working with students.

“‘You play, you pay’ is what mom would tell me,” said Amy Mclinden. 

Mclinden is a 33-year-old woman working as a service operations manager. Even though Albertson’s is her current employer, it wasn’t her first. Mclinden said that she was also a working teenager. For example, McDonald’s and the snack bar for Spare Time Bowling Alley were some of her jobs.

Mclinden said she never missed a shift because her parents taught her responsibility and work ethic. She continued that even when she would party until 3 a.m., her mom would still wake her up in the morning and get her to work. 

“My youngest employee is 16 years old,” Mclinden said.

She mentioned she hires students when they are at least 16. She said she doesn’t like to hire younger teens because she is very impatient and doesn’t like to deal with coworkers that require a lot of attention or get “cute” with her. She said that she has already seen a lot of students from CMR that she would hire. If a student wants to find a job, her requirements are that you would have to be reliable and be willing to work weekends. 

“I would always prefer getting the bag over anything else, even education,” Mclinden said.

She said that her grades were okay, but work did somewhat get in the way of school. Mclinden added that her shift ran from after school to 11 p.m. so she was tired by the time she got home and never did her homework. Mclinden said if she had to choose something she regrets, it would be slacking high school. She believes that she would of gotten the opportunity to find a better job if she did better during her time of education.

 Although Mclinden shows her point of view on how she works with highschoolers, now Ethan Williams gives his side of the story, working as a high schooler. 

“If I’m not at work, I’m working out,” Williams said. Williams, a sophomore at CMR works at the Rock Climbing Gym and the Great Falls Country Club. He says he works at the gym on Wednesdays and the club on Tuesdays and Thursday – Sunday. Williams said work gets into the way of the things he loves sometimes. He can’t hang out with friends or work out and he has private lessons for the saxophone since he participates in the CMR band. Even though his grades are exceptional, Williams said that his jobs do get in the way of his education.

“Everybody is so supportive, and I get to do what I love,” Williams said. He said not only does he go to the Rock Climbing Gym as a job, but he also goes to the gym to continue pursuing his hobby. Williams said he is already familiar with the Country Club, so he knows his coworkers which makes the job a lot better for him. At the club he is paid $10 an hour plus tips, and he gets his payment for a membership knocked off.

“I enjoy my jobs and wouldn’t change them for anything,” Ethan Williams said.

 While some students work for the extra money or for fun, some students need the job to survive.

“I really can’t hang out with friends,” Jordan Aviles said.  Aviles is a sophomore at CMR who also works two jobs. She said she works as a maid at Daisy’s Hotel and an employee at ROSS. She said she is really involved in the music department at CMR, and she said she is a member of the Chamber Orchestra and in Youth Orchestra.

Aviles said that her jobs do get in the way of a lot of things. She said that she has to cut practice short to get to her job. She works every day after school and on Saturday mornings, so she can never have any time to hang out with friends or do things she loves. Aviles said that she is an exceptional student, and even though work does get in the way, she has amazing teachers that sometimes extend deadlines or forgive her for late work. Even though it isn’t her favorite thing to do, Aviles said she has only called out of work once or twice.

“I don’t work for extra money or wants. I work for necessities,” Aviles said. She said she has no complaints about her wages. She said at Daisy’s, her wages raise every year, and she gets $9 an hour at Ross. Aviles said overall she likes her job, she likes her coworkers and her job isn’t that hard, except the first week during housekeeping she was sore. Aviles said that one thing she doesn’t like is the weird dress codes at Ross and how that is the only thing Ross worries about.

 “High school and my jobs are a wonderful and stressful experience for me,”