In retail and rock climbing, students mix passions and employment

Photo courtesy of Elilta Abera

Chiara Purificato

One day at work junior Francesca Vichr, along with her colleagues, had to scramble to round up a group of horses gone rogue. The horses in her barn had strayed from their spots and began sprinting towards the highway, it was up to them to relocate them back to their homes safe and sound. This isn’t the most typical task that comes to mind when thinking of another day at work.

Outside of their academics, extracurriculars, and sports, many students at Wilson work part-time on the weekends and during the week. Whether it’s to get a little extra pocket money, exercise their passions, or help out their families, Wilson students have become employees all across the DC area. Outside of more common roles like being a hostess at a restaurant, working at an after school program, or being a babysitter, other students share their experiences with less common side professions.  

Vichr started working at the Woodland Horse Center three years ago. She was already a part of the horse center’s community growing up, and seized the opportunity when she turned 14. Vichr gets to teach young riders and take care of the horses. She enjoys spending her time working at Woodland because it is a relaxing environment away from all of the hustle and bustle of her everyday life.

Another student who combines their hobbies with their work is senior Elilta Abera, who works at Earth Treks rock climbing center in Crystal City. “They needed a kids camp instructor over the summer so my brother who also works there hooked me up with an interview,” Abera said. 

Abera belays people who come into climb for the first time, or anyone who needs an instructor to belay them. She also leads birthday parties and teaches after school programs for kids ages nine to 12. 

“The community is amazing and it’s a really cool place to hang out and a fun activity, so it’s nice to have the benefits of going there for free,” she said. 

Junior Maggie Bruty works at Ella Rue, a small high-end consignment shop in Georgetown. With a knack for fashion, she started helping out at the store when she was young, and has been working there ever since. 

“Establishing relationships with clients… getting to know their styles… [as well as] helping them pull things that they normally wouldn’t for themselves” are huge parts of Bruty’s job. “Very rarely will you encounter mean and unpleasant people and it’s just a test for me personally. I think it’s a crazy feeling I only experience there,” Bruty said.

Bruty loves her job because it allows her to feed her passion for fashion. “I get to learn so much from [my bosses] and people and clients I meet. It’s a huge opportunity to branch out because I meet so many successful people from London, Paris, New York City, and Los Angeles,” she said.

Senior Amartya Eswaran-King works for the travel baseball organization Gatorball. He started working for the program over the summer after reaching out to his Wilson baseball coach. Eswaran-King gets to share his knowledge and love of baseball with the young athletes—watching them grow and improve is very rewarding for him. Over the summer, Eswaran-King traveled to New Jersey for a tournament with the team to coach the kids.