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Another kind of education

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For some people, going to high school is enough of a challenge. They have to worry about keeping their grades up in order to go to college, play sports or just to impress someone with their intellect.

However, some students also have the added responsibility of an after-school job. Why do they choose to take on this extra work?

"I got a job to take the step out on a limb and provide for myself, to slowly make my way to paying everything myself so that my parents don't," said Jackie Kidd, an Oak Hill High School junior who works at Kmart. "[It's] car insurance now, and later on, if I find a job with good enough pay, I'll pay for my phone, too."

"I wanted something for the spare time. I also wanted to start early to realize what it was really like to have a job," said Valley High School senior and McDonalds employee Chelsey Adkins.

"My motivation for getting a job was to get money saved up for college, so I can move to Florida this summer for school," said Clay County senior Meigan Williams, who works at Bob Evans.

A job is just one thing that takes up teens' time after school. They also have homework to do. So how do these working students balance the two?

"I had to let work know that I couldn't close on school nights because yes, I have responsibilities at work, but I have to focus on my schoolwork, too," said Kidd.

"Kmart is really understanding when it comes to school and education," she added. "Weekdays, my hours are typically 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., so I can study and complete my homework before it's too late."

"I only work a limited number of hours," explained Adkins. "For example, during the week, I only work Wednesday and Thursday, meaning I'll have time to work on my schoolwork as well."

"I just try to stay on top of my schoolwork as best as I can during any free time," said Williams. "I do manage to keep straight As, though."

Having an after-school job doesn't just apply to students in high school. Many college students have jobs, too.

"I had to get a job to pay for my two cars," said WVU Tech sophomore Timmy Selman. "Luckily, my schoolwork isn't a problem because McDonalds works around my school schedule."

All these teens plan to continue working, though sadly for Kidd, Kmart is closing Jan. 27, so she will be losing her close-to-home job. She plans to find another, though.  "I have the opportunity to get transferred to the Beckley Kmart, but I don't want to venture too far away from home because I have to pay for gas, too. I am going to try applying at Dirty Ernies in Fayetteville after the store closes."


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