Pursuing a paycheck and diploma

When teens begin high school, they begin to feel the responsibility of looking out not only for themselves, but for their families. Often times in order to do so, they need to earn money.

Due to the economic troubles the nation is under, many families have been affected in different ways; most commonly, the parents are unemployed and are trying to find different ways to support their families. As a result, the eldest child, or children, of the family  can be pressured into finding a job in order to assist their parents.

Teens also work for personal reasons, such as buying themselves clothes, a car, saving money for college, or to simply be proactive.

Either way, students that work often have more responsibilities because they have to manage their time between school and work.

At Ánimo Pat Brown, may tudents that have a job or have had one. This means they have more responsibility and are unable to pay as much attention to their grades or schoolwork.

In order for a student to work, the student needs to ask for a job permit. According to rTirsa Barbero, many students ask for a job permit, but do not meet the requirements.

The requirements for getting a job state that students should be 16 or older and not fail any classes, which means that their grade point average should be a minimum 2.0.

“A student that wants to work should have responsibility first, and make sure that school is their priority because a job is consuming,” Barbero said.

Fast food
Senior Maria Flores currently works at Burger King for 7 hours for 8 dollars an hour and since she is eighteen she did not need a permit. She works because she wants to spend money for herself and her parents, as well as to pay for expenses such as the senior package, since she is paying for her sister and herself.

Working has put extra pressure on her because it requires some of her precious time, she said also has to focus on maintaining her grades and keeping herself on track in order to graduate.

Therefore, during the weekdays, she gets up early to eat breakfast, tries to get some homework done ahead of time, and then gets ready for work. When she returns–and if she has extra time–she finishes her homework.

At work, Maria is a cashier and takers orders. She makes sure that she is professional by double checking how much she gives for change, or if the order is correct.

“I learn to communicate with the customers right because sometimes people give attitude or get upset, so I need to be patient,” Maria said.

Although she does not earn plenty of money, she is satisfied with the money that she earns because she has a job.

“The working experience made me more independent and has helped me, but having a job does not mean I will give up school,” Maria said.

To a experience as a high school and having a job at the same time could not better for Maria since she understand that school comes first then her job.

Self Defense

Junior Guadalupe Nevarez works as a self defense instructor, which consist more of outdoors and body movement. He ask for a job permit and allowed to work and does part-time during the weekdays.

“I am a self defense instructor. I work with students, both girls and boys, and teach them boxing, kick boxing, and Taekwondo,” Guadalupe said.

His pay is 8 dollars and is paid by Arc because couple of student wanted to have a mix martial art club and needed a instructor, therefore, Guadalupe volunteered to be the instructor.

At his job he usually put his student against someone bigger to show them how to defend themselves under pressure.

“The experience is what I like because I am able to work and have responsibilities, therefore I learn from the experience,” Guadalupe said.

At times, having a job does not allow a student to focus in school because having extra  responsibilities put as side other obligations.

“Honestly, since I started working my grades went up,” Guadalupe said. I think it depends on what job you have. My job doesn’t restricts me from doing good.

His grade point average is really good because it is a 3.0 and he is making sure it maintains that way.

He says that getting a job has impacted his grades positively, although his grades are good, if he struggles to complete it his reading assignment if it is too much.

In Guadalupe’s defense, he has learn that teaching self-defense can grow people as a person inside and outside because it builds confidence and drive on not giving up themselves even when it seems impossible to overcome obstacles.


Balancing a job and school can be stressful for student, therefore, some students prefer to have a summer job. Junior Miguel Sanchez has worked in construction during the summer because studies does not come between work.

His motive to work is to get extra money to buy things for himself and his girlfriend.

At his job, Miguel is a handy man, which mean he assist the construction workers by grabbing  the tools or actual working with construction workers.

Miguel pay in total is about 400  dollar a  week. He earns this much because he works 8 hours a day.

Even though Miguel has an advantage to work during the summer and can rest he still has to understand how to format his time by making sure that he gets the enough rest.

“It is stressful because I have to wake up early everyday after a long day at work,” Miguel said.

He realize that working during the summer can have the same impact school does because he has to manage his time, but understand school is always right path than just living off a job.

“Pursuing school is better because that way it will lead to a career and you choose the hours,” Miguel said.

However, students that stop working only have to attend school until they are dismiss and then go home. Not working anymore gives them more time to work on homework and study, which generally has a great effect on their academics.

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