EAST WINDSOR: Teens fill summer jobs

By Raunaq Singh, Special Writer
   EAST WINDSOR — Teenagers are often told that idle time is the devil’s playground. This summer, many teens within Hightstown are taking that free time and turning it into something slightly more productive: money.
   Upcoming junior at Hightstown High School, Caila Cabrera, 16, works at the local McKnight Day Camp as an art director. Although money is a motivating factor for everyone working a job, Caila said she feels that her biggest reward lies in the kids.
   ”I do it because I want to impact kids in a positive way,” Caila said. “I feel like some kids just need that one person who doesn’t treat them like a baby, but still has their best interest in mind.”
   Another working teen this summer is Hightstown High School junior Johnny Cox.
   However, he’s working at a job not so close to home.
   Residing in Long Beach Island this summer, Cox is working at the Big Dipper to try and make some money for college and pleasure.
   Although having parents willing to pay for college, Johnny has bestowed the responsibility upon himself to come up with the money for all other miscellaneous items.
   Johnny said while he dreads working until 11 p.m., he thoroughly enjoys the pleasure of all his friends and coworkers he has met at Long Beach Island thus far.
   Johnny said he does miss seeing his friends from Hightstown.
   However, as a devoted winter wrestler, Johnny does not find the time to work during the winter.
   As a result, the money earned during the summer months pay dividends once the winter-time rolls around.
   Although rising HHS senior Kevin Haddock would love to spend his summers hanging out by the beach, he will settle for tackling his first job this summer at the food department in Six Flags Great Adventure.
   As one of the more structured summers of his life, he believes it is rewarding as it gives him much-needed money as well a busy schedule over the summer.
   As a result, he is forced to balance his annual church mission trip as well as summer lacrosse workouts to prepare for his senior campaign.
   Even though Kevin is working long hours he looks forward to summer as a time where he has no worries. “Just being able to live day by day instead of having to always think ahead is a nice treat.”
   One student not working for money is Joe Ra. A junior at Hightstown High School, Joe is a volunteer worker at Ten Thousand Villages and the Calvary Summer School.
   At ten thousand villages, Joe sells items at a fair amount of money to the artisans who make them. At the Calvary Summer School, John enjoys himself by helping kids improve their skills within school subjects as well as learning about Christianity.
   If given the choice to choose between anything else to do this summer, Joe said he would be found volunteering at a nursing home with his mother or preparing for the SAT.
   Although not making money, Joe claims to reap huge rewards from Ten Thousand Villages.
   ”The biggest reward is learning about all of the different cultures and artisans that we trade with and knowing that with every sale, I actually help a family by giving them a fair amount of money,” Joe said.
   Wanting to make the varsity cross country team this summer, Joe is forced to bike several miles every day due to a knee injury while prevents him from running. Later on, he will attempt to complete as much SAT work as humanely possible while still spending time with friends and family.
   As with many of the students, this summer has been much more structured and routine than any other for Joe.
   ”This summer has differed from all of the others because I’m doing something productive every single day. If I’m not volunteering, I’m studying,” Joe said. “If I’m not studying, I’m getting to know more people. If I’m not getting to know more people, I’m training for cross country or having driving lessons with my father.”
   While many students are having a more or less leisure summer, these students are busy working toward making their own personal goals a reality.