DGN students work on front lines

Allie Emmet, Staff Writer

When people picture an essential worker, the first image that comes to mind may not be a high school student. Through the chaos of the Coronavirus, many Americans have had to continue working at essential businesses. This includes workplaces such as restaurants, banks, grocery stores, and, of course, hospitals. 

“I’m thankful to be working in the food industry because not only can I stay busy, but I can be there for those who need this line of service and are appreciative for the long days that we have been putting in,” senior Billy Berberich said.

Berberich, a Jersey Mike’s employee, has been working through the pandemic and expresses he feels safe in his work environment. The company enforces compliance to governor Pritzker’s orders through recommended rules like the use of masks and gloves. They also have been promoting online ordering to sway people from coming to the store. This is all being done to provide food for people who need it, while still ensuring their safety.

“Offering food is an essential. Not that it necessarily has to come from us, but some people may not have the time to go out and get the supplies to make food at home. We are here to offer a quick and clean way to get what they need for meals,” Berberich said.

Restaurants are not the only businesses open and Billy is not the only student employed during this time. Junior Max Dvorak was hired at Home Depot in March and has been there since.

Home Depot has made significant changes to protect employees and customers, like limiting the amount of shoppers in the store and placing X’s on the ground marked in six foot increments to assist customers with social distancing at checkout. 

“I feel lucky to be able to assist my community while also working in a safe environment. It really does mean a lot to me to be able to be in this position,” Dvorak said.

Although the work of students like these is not easy, they find fulfillment in their jobs and helping the community. Talia Van Santan, a now graduated senior, describes an inspiring interaction she had with customers.

“I was taking orders at the drive thru when two customers came by and I didn’t get a response when I asked them for their order,” Van Santan said. “ I realized they might be deaf when I saw them signing to each other as they approached the cashier window.”

Van Santan, a beginner at ASL, was able to communicate and help the customers, who were very thankful for her service. In a time where the majority of people are wearing masks covering their mouths, the daily lives of the auditorily impaired is a challenge. Van Santan is grateful that she has the opportunity to help all customers, especially those struggling during this pandemic. 

“I just want to put out a healthy reminder that amongst the chaos right now, there is still good in the world. My interaction with these customers genuinely made my day,” Van Santan said.