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Nick Koppert, a senior at Naples High School in Italy, gets experience at American Forces Network Naples as he films a spot of Petty Officer Third Class Michael Tackitt, an AFN broadcast journalist. Koppert works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program.
Nick Koppert, a senior at Naples High School in Italy, gets experience at American Forces Network Naples as he films a spot of Petty Officer Third Class Michael Tackitt, an AFN broadcast journalist. Koppert works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program. (Lisa Horn / S&S)
Nick Koppert, a senior at Naples High School in Italy, gets experience at American Forces Network Naples as he films a spot of Petty Officer Third Class Michael Tackitt, an AFN broadcast journalist. Koppert works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program.
Nick Koppert, a senior at Naples High School in Italy, gets experience at American Forces Network Naples as he films a spot of Petty Officer Third Class Michael Tackitt, an AFN broadcast journalist. Koppert works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program. (Lisa Horn / S&S)
Michael Lahrman, a junior at Naples High School in Italy, practices a script he prepared for an upcoming spot on American Forces Network radio. Lahrman hopes the experience he gets at AFN will help him get a job in sports broadcasting.
Michael Lahrman, a junior at Naples High School in Italy, practices a script he prepared for an upcoming spot on American Forces Network radio. Lahrman hopes the experience he gets at AFN will help him get a job in sports broadcasting. (Lisa Horn / S&S)
Petty Officer 2nd Class Shalyn Kidd, a radio supervisor with American Forces Network Naples, Italy, offers advice to Naples High School student Michael Lahrman. Lahrman works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Shalyn Kidd, a radio supervisor with American Forces Network Naples, Italy, offers advice to Naples High School student Michael Lahrman. Lahrman works at AFN three times a week as part of the school's career practicum program. (Lisa Horn / S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — Students in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools’ Career Practicum Program have discovered that some lessons can be learned outside of the classroom.

During school hours, juniors and seniors enrolled in the program work several hours a week in a chosen career field. The program, formerly known as the Cooperative Work Experience program, has been revamped and is available at all 34 DODDS high schools, said Frank O’Gara, DODDS spokesman.

In the first three weeks of school, students in the class learn how to apply for their jobs by assembling a cover letter and resume as well as practicing interview techniques.

Naples High School has one of the larger career practicum programs with roughly 30 students enrolled. Senior Nick Koppert and junior Michael Lahrman are getting their work experience with the American Forces Network on the Gricignano support site.

Koppert is on the television side, and Lahrman is in radio. Both students are working on “The High School Minute,” a spot that will be aired in coming weeks on the AFN Naples channel and AFN radio on LAVA 106 FM.

“We’re scripting right now,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Shalyn Kidd, AFN radio supervisor. “Michael wrote it out and so I’m going through and just making sure it’s conversational and ready to go. He’s going to voice it and [then] we’ll put it together.”

Seaman Thomas Ward and Koppert are going through the same process before they go on the air.

“You learn more this way from just being on the job than if you were in school being lectured on it,” Koppert said.

A bonus for the students is that the AFN facility at Gricignano is a little over a year old, and much of its equipment is still new.

“It’s all access for them,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Merilee T. Paige, AFN Naples officer in charge. “At the end of the year, they’ll know that they’ve been taught on the best.”

Other students in the class are working as teachers’ aides, postal workers and at the U.S. Naval Hospital, filing records and greeting visitors.

“It’s a fun class and gives you a feel of the career field that you’re interested in,” Lahrman said.

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