As most Hay River students return to school this week some are learning how to balance school and extracurricular activities, some have the added responsibility of a part time job to factor in.
And they are not alone. A study of perspectives on the teen labour force released in 2005 by Statistics Canada revealed that one in five teens aged 15-19 would work an additional five hours a day on top of the hours they spend at school. This number doesn’t include the hours spent on homework.
August 31 was a busy evening at the Don Stewart Recreation Centre. It was one of the largest bingo nights of the year, a result of being on hiatus for several months over the summer break. Attendees sat at tables in the packed arena and it was keeping young staff members at Sub on the hub pretty busy.
Angela Roy was one of these young workers. The 14-year-old has been employed at the food and beverage establishment for almost one year and says it’s one of the more relaxed places to work as a young person in town, but it can still sometimes be hectic.
“It’s not hard work and when it’s busy there are usually two people on,” she said. “Sometimes it gets to be a lot in the winter when I’m doing figure skating and piano lessons and then work and homework.”
The establishment has been owned by Domie Velasquez and his wife for six years and he says his younger employees right now are between the ages of 14-17.
“They are the ones who want to part time jobs,” said Velasquez. “It can get very busy and when there are tournaments we have to stay late but they work very hard.”
Grade 10 Diamond Jenness Secondary Student and employee Taylor Havioyak says she is almost used to the balancing act—sports, work, school and homework—and the stress is worth it to be able to bring home her own cash.
“I like being able to make my own money and not have to ask my parents for it,” said Havioyak. “I had been thinking about getting a job for a long time before I did.”
The statscan look into employment and teen labour stated that higher amounts of paid and unpaid hours put into work and volunteer activities could increase stress levels and take away from progress in education. So far for Roy, who is only entering Grade 9 at Ecole Boreale, striking a balance isn’t too hard when the work is enjoyable.
This is something Roy seems to have the knack for.
“(This job) is fun,” she said. “I usually only work here once a week and it’s pretty chill. When it’s not too busy friends come by the counter and just talk.”
- Angele Cano