Learning about entrepreneurship and small business at SouthTown Wake Park, meeting patients face-to-face at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, purchasing luxury cars through an online auction with Formula 1 Imports, witnessing open heart surgery, preparing for a civil trial. These are just some of the many opportunities our 138 seniors experienced during their Senior Externship on February 7. In its third year, the Senior Externship Program is a one-day shadowing and mentoring experience that expands our classroom walls and exposes our seniors to a variety of professions that match their own passions and interests. This year, 62 employers representing 15 industries were matched with our students.

We feel fortunate to offer our students such a wide breadth of offerings in numerous different fields. We are grateful to our parents, alumni, and friends of Country Day who go above and beyond to ensure such a positive experiential learning experience for our students. This opportunity is also about making meaningful connections and community collaboration.

Steve Wall, Assistant Dean of Students and Externship Coordinator

First-hand reflections

Below are some first-hand reflections on what the day was about:

Rachel Gardner, Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates

“I shadowed Dr. Deshmukh, who was a wonderful role model who exposed me not only to scans and MRIs, but also allowed me to meet patients face-to-face. Over the course of the day, I saw 22 patients and learned about their stories—whether preparing for an upcoming surgery or simply having a consult. By taking anatomy and AP Psychology in Upper School, I was able to understand the scans of the brain and spine much clearer. Dr. Deshmukh even allowed me to look at scans and guess what an issue might be, then predict a solution. I enjoyed connecting the real world of medicine with my educational experience. This hands-on experience pushed me out of my comfort zone in a way that had me excited about my possible days in the medical field.”

Sadie Charles Calame, Formula 1 Imports

“Owner Jeff Tomascek gave us a tour of the luxury car dealership and mapped out the different departments and how they all work together. We went behind the scenes to see how Formula 1 buys most of their cars. We watched how to bid and follow online auctions that were taking place in various locations around the country. I always assumed car auctions took place in person, but in the age of technology, it turns out that most buying and selling of cars at auctions is done over the phone or on the computer. A highlight was when we jumped into a 2014 Bentley Flying Spur and drove to a detailing outfit to check up on an Audi R8 GT. We learned how to appraise cars and the importance of building strong and lasting relationships with the customer.” 

SouthTown Wake Park
Instagram post SouthTown Wake Park

“I was very impressed with the students matched with us,” says Beth Ellis, managing partner of SouthTown Wake Park and Country Day alumna. “We discussed the startup process and fundamental business strategies. I shared that getting turned down and redoing financials and proposals was a lot like reworking English papers at Country Day! To be successful getting a new business open, especially a unique/different one, one must continually revise, edit and never quit. I pointed out that the resilience these students have already mastered as seniors at Country Day will serve them will in the business world!”

Katie Batten, Novant Health Heart & Vascular Institute

“I shadowed Dr. Theruvath, chief of cardiothoracic surgery and saw two open heart surgeries, one Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG), an Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR), and two Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacements (TAVRs). Standing over the patients’ open hearts was incredible. I was in awe of the preciseness of the maneuvers and the technology that allows us to fix even the most fatal of problems. This experience only strengthened my interest in medicine and affirmed my desire to become a surgeon. Dr. Theruvath was unbelievable in his abilities in operations and charismatic patient care, and I know I will use some of what I learned in my career as a surgeon.”

Lucy Elliott, Rosenwood Rose & Litwak, PLLC

“I really appreciated all that I learned about litigation and construction law. I had no idea of the intricacies that are involved with any case, and it really opened my eyes to the kind of work that lawyers do each day. I also enjoyed what Mr. Burchette and his coworkers said about helping people being one of the best parts of your job. I am so excited to come to court in the coming weeks and see in practice what I learned about.”

William Byron and NASCAR

NASCAR employees and Country Day parents Brooke Beyer and Derek Thomas hosted four seniors exposing them to various functions within the organization. The students also met professional stock car racing driver and Country Day alum William Byron ’06.