GISD communications department introduces internship program


Gonzales High School students will be getting a shot to pursue and experience the communications career field on campus.

The GISD Communications Department introduced a communications internship program for those high school students who are interested in the field.

GISD Chief of Administration, Communications, and Security Veronica Johannsen, who is in charge of the program, said students will be getting opportunity to “gain first-hand practical experience” in the communications field at GISD.

“One week, students will be able to focus on video and, the following week, website management. My goal is for our students to learn about real-world projects and to graduate feeling confident in their writing, video editing, digital marketing, website management, graphic design, podcasting, magazines, and more. The possibilities are endless,” Johannsen said.

The GISD Board of Trustees approved hiring eight student interns; four paid seniors and four unpaid students (freshmen to junior).

Johannsen has been in the communications field for many years as bilingual TV news reporter with skills that include script writing, video shooting, vidoe editing and more.

“Throughout my career, I have learned a lot. I have learned to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. In this field, every day is unique. One day, you could be working on a story about student success; the next minute, you could write and deliver a serious message. I attribute my successful journey in communications to my past experiences. In this industry, you have to be adaptable and ready for what's next. I hope our GISD students gain the confidence to find endless opportunities,” Johannsen said.

The high school students that are involved in the internship program are “extremly excited,” Johannsen said.

She added Brandy Low, the visual/graphic design teacher, has been a game changer in the program.

“She has been supportive since day one. Mrs. Low has encouraged her students to apply and pushes them to uncover the potential they sometimes don't even realize they have. It took one teacher to change my life, and I am sure she is impacting students' lives as mine was when someone invested their time in me,” Johannsen said.

Low wasn’t the only person who has impact on the start of the intern program; GISD’s Kimberly San Juan has joined “larger community of National School PR.”

“She has done a phenomenal job researching programs in other districts, and together, we have talked to several districts in the state of Texas and across the nation to learn about their experiences and challenges. Some have shared success stories of students gaining jobs in the communications field after high school and crediting the program as preparing them for the working world,” Johannsen said.

This is the first year introducing the communication intern programs, and Johannsen is looking forward to the growth of the program.

“One of the goals in our strategic plan that I promised this community is to make a platform available for our students to have a voice. That opportunity is here, and we must maximize the learning experience to deliver top-quality work. Our idea list is lengthy, and I am lucky to have the support of our Superintendent, Dr. A (Elmer Avellaneda), the CTE team at the high school, and the comms team rooting for this program that will help our GISD students grow,” Johannsen said.

Johannsen has a message for incoming high school students who are interested in the program:

“Take the chance. Don't let fear keep you from learning something new. When I was younger, I was afraid of what people thought, and I was scared of failing and not meeting expectations. I wouldn't be the proud chief of administration of our thriving district today if I hadn't taken the leap of faith and taken a chance on myself. Take the chance. Don't let fear keep you from learning something new,” Johannsen said.

The requirements to be part of the program is students must have good standing grades and willing to learn and able to commit 15-20 hours per week during afternoon class periods and after school.