STAMFORD — Over the objections of his friend, saying, “No, no, no, don’t say it,” Adonis Haughton, an incoming Stamford High School freshman, blurted out he wants to be a CVS pharmacist when he grows up, drawing laughter from some of the other students attending a weeklong seminar at the University of Connecticut Stamford.

The joke wasn’t that being a pharmacist is a funny profession. No, it hit home with many of the 30 students participating in the seminar because they had just heard a presentation on becoming a CVS pharmacist earlier that morning as part of their seminar on making the transition to high school from middle school.

It also hit home because of who they are and where they are in their development. They are 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds who are about to leave childhood behind, trading it for the slow climb to a reality that starts with high school. Part of that transition includes your dreams and how they will change.

As a child, you may dream about becoming something great. You see yourself as a globe-trotting musician or doing something heroic on a daily basis. You might even believe you can become the king or queen of a small country, but rarely do you dream of being a pharmacist.

But that’s the point of the Stamford Achieves seminar Beyond Limits, organizers say: to let youngsters see there is a reason, even if it makes them giggle a little, to dream of being a pharmacist. It’s a good job and it’s not easy to become one, noted one of the seminar speakers as the laughter died down.

Andy Sklover, Stamford Achieves director of advocacy and education, said the program came about as part of discussions that teachers, parents and students had during the district’s high school call to action.

Stamford Achieves, which is a nonprofit focused on eliminating the achievement gap between students in public schools, funded it with the idea that students entering high school need to understand they are laying the groundwork for their real futures as marine biologists, FBI agents, optometrists, artists and yes, pharmacists.

Teachers, administrators and counselors at the middle schools provided a list of students who might benefit from the seminar, who were invited to apply, Sklover said. The majority of students, he said, were viewed by their teachers as having potential, but who are mid-tier level. The concern, Sklover said, is that these are the students who might fail when they’re confronted by the bigger schools and the more demanding academics.

Adonis said, “Mostly B’s and C’s,” when asked what kind of grades he gets.

“Mostly ‘A’s,” he responded when he’s asked what he should be getting.

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Stamford Achieves (SA) acts only as an intermediary between employers posting internship and job opportunities and student candidates. All hiring and compensation for work performed by students is handled directly between the student and the employer. SA also reserves the right to refuse to post or remove internship or job postings.

We do not guarantee or take responsibility for (a) the truthfulness, accuracy, quality, safety, morality, desirability or legality of employer information and position listings, (b) the ability of employers to offer internship and job opportunities, or (c) the hiring, recruiting or other practices of any employer. Students are urged to perform due diligence in researching employers when applying for or accepting employment.

For Students:

An internship, particularly for students at least 16 years of age, is a great way to get to know yourself a little better while building skills that will make you better prepared for the future. Internships can help you understand how a professional organization functions in the real world. While interning, you will have the opportunity to assess and refine your career goals. It is a “trial period”, an opportunity to test ideas about your interests and potential professions – whether it’s entertainment, non-profit, technology, health – without requiring a lengthy commitment. Just remember, no matter what you do and how long you do it for, do it to the best of your ability.

Some internships are “salaried” positions and some are strictly volunteer. Either way, you will likely gain valuable experience. Please note that most are highly competitive and you should pay close attention to the application deadlines.

Many organizations do not advertise the availability of internships or jobs and so it often requires some initiative on your part. With this portal, Stamford Achieves is seeking to aggregate internship and job opportunities for Stamford’s high school students.

Although we would ultimately like to post all student internship and job opportunities that is simply not realistic. Therefore, it is recommended that you conduct an internet search, look out for postings and check newspaper listings. Also, please use your networks – guidance counselors, teachers, parents, relatives, family, and friends – anyone who may have contacts within businesses or organizations that interest you.

For Employers:

The City of Stamford benefits tremendously from a large and diverse group of employers. These employers can and often do offer our high school students internship as well as job opportunities. However, employment opportunities are not typically aggregated so as to streamline the process for both the prospective employers and students. This portal is designed to be a simple and efficient way to maximize our tremendous resources.

We welcome your feedback as to how we can make this portal as productive and efficient as possible so please do not hesitate to email us at and thanks so much for participating.