The library had a small thank you party for Ropas last Thursday. Left to right: Ann Blaskovich, library staff, Andrea Pierce, Seven Summits teacher, Gill Eames, library staff, Mack Robins, Seven Summits grad student, and Penny Johnson, library volunteer.

Rossland grad builds skills through library internship

A Seven Summits student built new skills through an internship at the Rossland Library.

A Rossland grad has improved his organizational and people skills over the past year, thanks to an internship at the Rossland Public Library.

Mack Ropas graduated from the Seven Summits School for Learning alongside his classmates on Wednesday, but last Thursday the library hosted a special party to thank him for the work he’s done as an intern there over the past two years. Penny Johnson, library volunteer, has been working with Ropas since September and has been impressed by his progress.

“He’s been a wonderful young man to work with and it was really great to see his skill development and also his personal development,” she said. “That was such a marvelous thing to be a part of.”

Asked what he learned over the past two years, Ropas said, “Organizational skills. A lot of organizational skills and definitely people skills as well.”

He helped reorganize sections of the library, opening up more room for displays and then also helped create the displays. He also learned to help patrons with research, finding books and inter-library loans.

Ropas isn’t sure yet if he’ll pursue a degree in library and information studies, but he said it’s definitely up for consideration.

He is the first intern the library has had and Johnson said the library would be open to having another.

“If Seven Summits wants to contact us, we seem to have really good success so far, so I certainly would encourage it,” she said.

Ropas internship is part of a work experience course offered by Seven Summits. It is taught by Andrea Pierce, who joined the teaching staff this school year.

“It’s the first year that we’ve had a work experience coordinator offering these internships,” she explained.

It’s up to the students to decide what kind of internship they’re interested in and an internship doesn’t necessarily have to last the full year or semester.

“They basically share their interest with me, and what they’re maybe thinking about or want to learn more about in the career field, and then we connect them with mentors in the community, and then set up different placements,” said Pierce.

“So for Mack this placement was just a one placement position, where he was here for the majority of his course, but we do have other options to have different learning opportunities,” she added. “So if someone is maybe interested in a medical field, but then also interested in looking in software, we can totally offer two different opportunities within the same course.”

This year, a Seven Summits student also job-shadowed at Rossland Summit School and another interned at Thoughtexchange, doing some coding.

The work experience course is open to Grade 10, 11 and 12 students at Seven Summits, and students must complete at least 100 hours of work placement during the course.