“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go.” –Dr. Suess, Oh the Places You’ll Go! Congratulations to the Class of 2015! You made it from 0 to 18, from kindergarten to high school graduation, and from diapers to diplomas! We are proud of you and couldn’t agree more with Dr. Suess’ quote in the book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Many parents would probably agree that 18 years went too fast, and they enjoyed every memory and milestone along the way. It’s very exciting along the way from children’s first words, to their first step, to their first day of school – and fast -forwarding several years – from their first day of high school to their first job. And then there’s getting a driver’s license and receiving a college acceptance letter (or more) in the mail. Parents have likely been their biggest supporters, and witnessed all of their “firsts.” Most of us who work with high school students at Festival Foods haven’t known these students for long enough to experience all of the above milestones with them. However, we pride ourselves on being a first job for many teenagers, and often we have the opportunity to watch this group grow from 16-year-olds starting their first job to 18-year-olds who have grown personally and professionally over the past couple years. We recently asked our high school employees to share what they learned from working while in high school, and if they had any memories they would like to share from working at Festival Foods. The responses were honest, funny and they really proved what a great group we get to work with each week! Here are some words of wisdom, advice and fun memories from this year’s graduating class, who will go on to be doctors, teachers, auto mechanics, physical therapists, graphic designers and so many other professions: Apply to places you go to a lot and are comfortable at. While working at Festival during high school I have learned that it is possible to work, have a social life, and do well in school. It has been helpful working at a place that encourages you to do well in school whether it be by letting me be flexible with my schedule and allowing me to take off for studying or school events or encouraging me to further my education with Dollars for Students. My favorite memory: Working in tot spot, you get to see some of the kids who come regularly grow and that is just really cool J - Marcy, Appleton Darboy You may not always love going in to work, but it’s a job and you need one because college is expensive. Plus, if you're lucky, you'll get to meet people you never would have before getting the job! (New people, new friends are always awesome!) I've learned that time management is very important. – Jessica, Appleton Darboy Every day I work I really enjoy bringing smiles to our guest’s faces. Also another favorite memory for me was when I was recognized with a gold boomerang pin for the guest who wrote in about me. I love to boomerang our guests back. Make sure you apply yourself when looking for a job. Take what your teachers teach you in school to heart. What they say really does make a difference. Before I was hired, I was more on the shy side. Now that I have been working for Festival for just about two years, I have really become an outgoing person and I love it. – Payge, Marshfield My favorite memory is definitely when a kid in the tot spot challenged me to foosball, and I proceeded to cream him! Advice that I'd have to people looking for a first job is to be friendly, work hard, and make it fun. There's always a way, no matter what you’re doing, to make it enjoyable, and if you're friendly, the people who you work with – and guests – can make it a much more enjoyable experience. – David, Appleton Darboy My advice for high school students looking for their first job is to look at the culture of the place they are applying. The culture of the company, along with the respect associates give each other, are keys to the success of the company. This also creates a more enjoyable experience for all associates and their sense of pride from the place they serve. Festival Foods is successful because of the enjoyable environment, flexibility in scheduling, good communication and respect between associates and their managers. The schedule of a high school student is very hectic! Balancing homework, studying, sports, extracurricular activities, family, and a job or two can be very overwhelming. What I have learned while working at Festival Foods is that managers have an Open Door Policy and they definitely abide by it. Not only do they make scheduling easy, but they are always willing to help you through any issues you may be having and guide you through the process. – Abrielle, Appleton Northland My favorite memory from working at Festival is probably any time I work in the Tot Spot. I especially love it when the kids will all sing Disney songs with me. Apply at fun places. Dress nicely for interviews. Make friends with your coworkers. Stay on top of your schedule with work, school, social life and other things. – Britta, Appleton Darboy With only working weekends and not being from Holmen, it was good just getting to know everyone on the Front End. If you just be yourself, it’ll take you a long way. Don’t be nervous about the whole process, everyone is so friendly and will work with you. It’s good to be busy because it keeps you organized. It’s a good experience to prepare you for the future. – Katie, Holmen Favorite memory: The time an avocado came up as $14,000 … that was great! Look appropriate for the interview and engage the interviewer in a conversation. Not question and answer. I have learned about people and how they react to certain things. I learned how it feels to be on the other side of the sale. – Shaun, Appleton Darboy My favorite memory from working at Festival was the day the power went out during the tornado in July 2013. The experience was not a good one in a sense of profit and efficiency, but I believe it showcased one of our greatest qualities: teamwork. The employees from all over the store (and state) came in regardless of shifts and pulled together to overcome the challenges that came with the storm. – Colton, Appleton Northland My favorite memory is training the new hires and introducing them to everyone. My advice: Apply everywhere. Call back and often to let them know how interested you are. I have developed patience and people skills working here. I have also learned to take responsibility and accountability of my work. – R.J., Holmen My favorite memory was with David during the Christmas season! We played music in the doorways to help raise money for the Salvation Army. I could not have asked for a better morning and what better place to give back to the community than Festival Foods Darboy! My advice would be to meet as many people as possible and create lasting friendships. I personally have learned time management and better responsibility. – John, Appleton Darboy My favorite memory from working at Festival is almost all of my memories from Festival! It is too hard to pick just one memory from the hundreds I have to choose as my favorite! My advice: Pick a job that is flexible with scheduling, otherwise you will regret it. I have learned to budget my time better. – Olivia, Appleton Northland My favorite memory so far was when Raymond first arrived. Getting to know someone new was pretty cool and refreshing. I also love that I have established “regulars.” There are people who will come out of one line just to come to mine. It’s just cool to create bonds with customers. My advice for high school students looking for their first job is don’t overwork yourself, especially senior year. Yes, you need money, and yes, you will be able to pay for most, if not all of the things you want. Save your money. I’ve gained a lot of patience working at Festival. I think patience is such a great tool to have. Also, I’ve learned to adapt to change. It helps me get a feel for what the real world is like. – Alayna, Kenosha It’s hard to limit it down to a single memory, but overall, my favorite thing about working at Festival is interacting with happy and enjoyable guests. I would encourage them to apply at Festival, or just anywhere hiring. It’s always nice to save up some money as well as learning skills that help you in your future jobs. I have learned many skills such as balancing work, school and sports. I’ve also learned social skills which will apply in many aspects of life, and learning how to plan ahead and make a schedule for important events. – Dylan, Holmen My favorite memory from Festival would have to be when a lady stopped me while I was bagging groceries to say what a wonderful job Festival does and then proceeded to tell me that she waits extra just so I can bag for her. Don't be picky, don't worry about the money part. The most valuable thing a first job can give you is experience working with every type of person. Make an effort to balance and establish priorities – I balanced two jobs, keeping up in my classes as well as extra-curricular activities. Everything was important so figuring out how to balance everything was important. – Hannah, Oshkosh
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