Battle of the Summer Jobs: Lifeguarding vs. App development


Alexandra Kluzak and Darius Sinha


Children swimming, people lounging by the side of the pool, and a summer breeze characterize the setting of Emma Maginn and Sara Berz’s (both ’23) summer job as lifeguards at the Mason Street pool, a neighborhood pool in Lexington.

Emma and Sara first heard about the job from Upper School (US) Spanish teacher Carrie Rose, the vice-president of the pool’s parent organization, the Pleasant Brook Pool Corporation. Soon after spring break, Ms. Rose explained the pool was looking for high schoolers to employ as many of the previous lifeguards were going into college.

Emma said taking the lifeguarding job isn’t just to keep people safe; it’s also trying new experiences over the summer.

“I really like feeling productive,” she said. “In the summer, you’re not doing too much, [but] as a lifeguard, you’re making some money.”

By the end of July, Emma had worked 73 hours at the pool and Sara had worked 99. Through their collective 172 hours, Emma said she’s seen events that required her to use her safety training.

“My first day, within the first hour, an elderly lady fell to the ground,” Emma said. “That was stressful because we are trained to look for strokes. It’s moments like those that remind you that it’s not always a laid- back job.”

Similarly, Sara had to put her training to the test at a different poolside accident, and she realized the job wasn’t as laid back as it originally seemed and she had more responsibility, she said.

“Someone dove into the pool and hit their nose and it started bleeding,” Sara said. “It’s scary because when something happens, I think about the things I learned during training, the horror stories, so when it happens I try to recall exactly what to do.”

Emma and Sara have had some overlapping shifts at the pool. Clara Noyes ’23 also works as a lifeguard at the pool and often overlaps with Emma and Sara.

“It’s nice to work with someone you know because you know you work well together,” Sara said.

The most rewarding part of the job, Sara said, was working with the people at the pool, especially the children taking swim lessons, as they were able to create bonds with those that they were working with. “Because I’m at the pool for nine hours some days, I end up talking, and I can learn a lot about a person.”

“There’s a little girl and her twin that have a lot of personality,” Sara said. “They would come in and do my hair in different styles every time.”

App development for Veson Nautical

Thanks to Mike Veson, Rohan Badani, and Nico Bers (all ’23), customers of Boston-based maritime trade management company Veson Nautical will soon be able to view a map tracking their cargo, calculate estimates of potential transactions, and submit payments with ease. Hired in 2021 as developers for the company, the trio has spent the last two summers transforming software which once only functioned on a computer into an easily accessible IOS app.

They discovered their passion for programming when they took Advanced Placement Computer Science their sophomore year.

“We all found that we enjoyed coding,” Rohan said. “You’re always working towards a bigger goal and designing something really cool.”

When Mike’s father, the Chief Executive Officer of Veson Nautical, approached them with a job offer to create an app that would streamline the company’s interactions with clients, the boys’ friendship made it an easy decision to accept.

The project required they learn Swift, a programming language primarily used to code IOS apps. They then began their internship the summer of 2021, going into the office five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each student focused on different components of the app, such as a map tracking cargo, a transaction-cost calculator, and general software testing. They accomplished more than half of the work on their respective projects last summer and have spent 30 hours a week this past summer completing their assignments.

Rohan said this internship allowed him to witness teamwork on a coding project in action.

“The computer science course was a lot of individual work, so it’s been fun to work together as a team and to recognize that the finished product is the result of our collaboration,” he said.

Swapping the classroom coding environment for an office setting made for valuable workplace exposure, Mike said.

“My favorite part was going to Veson Nautical because there are not a lot of real office experiences available to people our age,” he said. “I didn’t know how offices worked before this.”

Just as valuable was the time they spent bonding with one another and their coworkers. The three have enjoyed exploring the Seaport on their electric skateboards and discovering new places to eat lunch.

They also hosted foosball and ping pong tournaments for the office.

Nico said he was grateful that he could lean on Rohan, Mike, and other colleagues for help fixing errors in his programs.

“We’ve really built each other up,” Nico said. “You can always ask for help from people that you’re working with on a day-to-day basis. And there’s always somebody that might have more experience and can help you.”

Nico said he now better understands the oversight app development requires, such as running automated tests.

“My favorite part of this job has been seeing all the aspects of making an app that you wouldn’t see in a computer science class,” he said. “You see all the extra things that you’ll end up doing in the real world.”

Nico said they hope to send their work to the app store come September.