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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

‘Working’ It: Meet the Bulldogs Who Have Jobs

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Camille
Senior Belan Ngo reorganizes necklaces in the accessory section at Brandy Melville. “I just got a promotion, and now I’m the accessories manager, so basically I merchandise and market all the jewelry items, and I’m in charge of making sure everything looks good,” Ngo said.

From serving customers food to tutoring students, let’s dive into the jobs of Portola High students, balancing work and school.

Belan Ngo

As a freshman, senior Belan Ngo was scouted by Brandy Melville employees, who said they liked her outfit. Ngo decided to start working that summer. As the current accessories manager of the Irvine Spectrum location, she works five days a week. Ngo finds that her job takes away from some of the time she could dedicate to school.

Ngo prioritizes school, managing her time so that she can both work and complete her assignments. 

“I balance it in a way that I make sure I do all my school work before I even go, and if I don’t finish it, then I just won’t go to work,” Ngo said.

Working at Brandy Melville has inspired her to dream of attending California State University Fullerton or the University of Southern California for business school. Ngo plans to continue working with Brandy Melville in the future, joining upper management and getting the opportunity to travel.

“Everyone in upper management at Brandy flies to different places, and it sounds like a lot of fun,” Ngo said.

Leah Chang

Working in the food industry is common for high school students, and for sophomore Leah Chang, it is one of the highlights of her week. 

Chang was hired at Dot’s Cupcakes at the Los Olivos Marketplace when the bakery opened a few months ago by her friend’s father who owns the Irvine location, Jimmy Phan. She boxes cupcakes and serves customers during her shifts.

“There are some customers that can be really rude, so I have to learn some patience to talk and help them in the store,” Chang said. 

Although work hours can be long—around 10 hours a week—Chang enjoys her work environment as there is a lot of downtime where she can do homework. Her favorite part is the convenience of the stores around her, especially picking up Starbucks before her shifts. 

Chang hopes to continue working at Dot’s Cupcakes to learn time management, teamwork and communication. “I am really close with my coworkers so working there doesn’t really feel like work,” Chang said. “It is really fun in general.”

Zoha Syed 

Many students attend Kumon when they are younger, but few work as tutors. Sophomore Zoha Syed is one of them. Syed started working at the Lake Forest location towards the end of summer, hoping to prepare herself for the upcoming school year. 

“It helps with organization and people skills because you have to talk to not only kids but their parents as well and update them on how their kids are doing,” Syed said. 

Syed also values the independence that having a job in high school gives her. It allows her to track and manage her money, according to Syed. Additionally, she acknowledges the difficulties that her job sometimes brings.

“Working with the kids can be challenging,” Syed said. “I work with kids under seven, they get distracted so that can be difficult.”

Although Syed only works four hours a week, she believes it is a good first job as she went through the program herself when she was younger.  

“I like meeting new people and talking to my co-workers, they are all really nice,” Syed said. “I like forming relationships with people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”

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About the Contributors
Camille Clement, Staff Writer
Camille Clement is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. Through her work, she hopes to amplify voices in the community and inform her fellow bulldogs. In her freetime, she enjoys discovering new music and spending time with friends. When she’s resisting the urge to online shop, Camille’s usually playing with her dog or scouring Letterboxd for a new movie to obsess over. This year, she couldn’t be more ecstatic to join the Pilot and share the most intriguing stories with her peers.
Nina Krish, Staff Writer
Nina Krish is a Photo Editor for her first year on the Portola Pilot. She is so excited to get to know her fellow writers and work with them this year. In her freetime, you can find her baking or buying overpriced drinks while blasting Harry Styles and Conan Gray. Her favorite part of the Pilot is spending time with her best friend, Olivia.
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