Student Success Stories

Partners in Learning: Branson High School’s Spring Semester Internship Program with Local Businesses

During the spring 2024 semester, six Branson High School students participated in internship experiences in the Trinidad and Branson, Colorado areas. Each student was asked to identify an employment interest area in which they wanted to learn more about the career and the daily tasks of the job. Our  students were placed with local professionals who took the students “under their wings” for a minimum of twelve hours. At the end of the internship experience, we asked the students to describe their experiences. Here’s what they had to say…

Kade B:  My name is Kade and I have been working for Universal-Trans, a trucking and welding shop in Trinidad, Colorado. I work with Ronnie, the head of the shop. He has been having me practice different kinds of welding including TIG, stick, and MIG welding.  We have put wheels on a hydraulic press, and we have made some parts for other projects that he has in the shop. I plan to go to Trinidad State College in the fall and earn a certificate in Welding.

Brock D:  My name is Brock, and I am working as an intern for Dr. Gavin Wilson, who is a dentist at Fisher’s Peak Dental in Trinidad, Colorado. Since I am interning with a healthcare professional and there are lots of liabilities, I obviously haven’t been able to operate on patients. I was able to do a teeth cleaning on another trainee to get some experience. I was also able to work with teeth impressions and pouring a stone cast. More importantly, I have gained lots of knowledge about dentistry and seen many procedures completed on patients. Before this internship I liked the idea of becoming a dentist, but now with real world experience, I have a good idea of what it is like to be a dentist. I am very grateful to Dr. Wilson for spending time with me and giving me experience before I go off to college.

Owen D: My name is Owen and I have taken part in the internship program here at Branson School. I have been working with Craig Green, the owner of Green Construction in the Branson area. I have learned a lot about home construction through this internship. I have helped put parts of the roof in place, done some slight frame work, and helped pull electrical wire throughout the house. I also learned how to install insulation. I am interested in being an electrician so this Internship was very beneficial to me and my future plans.  

Ysabel G: My name is Ysabel and I worked for Dr. Laura Blanton, a local large animal veterinarian who travels to ranches and homes in southeast Colorado and northern New Mexico. Dr. Blanton is based out of Branson, Colorado. Working for her, I got to load ear taggers when she was vaccinating cattle. I enjoyed observing the kinds of things she had to go through caring for cattle. I watched how she sanded or “floated” a horse's teeth. I also got to help her load vaccinations for dogs and cats at a vaccination clinic at Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Trinidad, CO.  My internship’s final task was assisting in neutering two barn cats in Branson! It was honestly really nice and good to know how to do these procedures.

Cole H: I am Cole and I worked with and for Junie Verquer, the Las Animas County Coroner, as an assistant in his Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) class at Hoehne High School. I helped the students get ready for their practical exam as they studied for their MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) training. I was able to sharpen my skills as an EMR again due to having to read and go over the sheets with the students many times.

Jonah M:  I’m Jonah and I also worked for Universal-Trans in Trinidad, Colorado with Ronnie.  My internship involved sanding, priming and painting a semi-truck fender. I plan to go to Wyo-Tech in Laramie, Wyoming for auto collision repair and this internship gave me some real-world experience in this area. 

 After successfully completing the Internship experiences, students, business partners and their families were invited to a celebratory dinner at Tequila’s Restaurant in Trinidad on May 9th, 2024.  Branson’s school administration invited each student’s business partner and a guest, the Branson School Board of Education, and Denille LePlatt, the Executive Director of SC-BOCES to join the celebration.  At the dinner, students shared testimonies of what they learned from their business partners and the experiences they had during their internship time. Students also thanked their business partner with a thank you gift, and for some, a handshake or hug. The highlight of the student testimonies was Brock D. sharing a plaster mold of his own teeth that he was allowed to make at Dr. Gavin Wilson’s office of Fisher’s Peak Dentistry!  We are grateful to have these business partners support the career connected learning initiatives offered through Branson High School and look forward to even more successful internships in the next school year.  

Kade B doing welding at Universal-Trans in Trinidad, CO
Observing a local vet “float” the teeth of a horse
Cole H assisted with teaching and evaluating an EMR class at Hoehne High School.
Jonah M learned auto refinishing skills at Universal-Trans in Trinidad, CO
Brock D at Fisher’s Peak Dental Clinic, Trinidad, CO
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While internships are an important piece of career-connected learning, there are other opportunities for students to gain skills, and build valuable career-ready experience.

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