Raking it in: Students share unique work experiences

Gennifer Geer, Managing Editor

Micah Slagle: Soccer Ref 

Running up the field, he keeps pace with the ball. He notes where all the players are — who’s about to score, who’s about to go out of bounds. Meanwhile, he’s keeping one eye on the clock. At all times, he knows everything that’s happening in the game.

Once a soccer player himself, sophomore Micah Slagle works as a soccer referee for the Blue Valley Soccer Club at the Overland Park Soccer Complex. Slagle said he pursued reffing once he stopped playing.

Under ideal conditions, Slagle said he enjoys working on the field.

“Most of the time, it’s in nice weather,” Slagle said. “Occasionally, you will be in a downpour, and it’s not that fun. When it’s really hot outside, it’s better because they give you water breaks, and the games go by quicker. They also shorten games, so when it’s really hot, it’s no big problem. It’s worse when it’s cold.”

Soccer referees usually work in teams of three with one on each side of the field and one in the center. Though Slagle works all positions, he said his favorite memory is the first time he reffed center.

“It’s kind of a nerve-wracking experience because that’s where all the punishment goes from the parents,” he said. “They never get angry at the assistant referees. It’s always the one in the middle.”

Slagle makes regular soccer calls such as fouls, throw-ins and corner kicks, and he said the players don’t usually argue with him.

“It’s more of the parents who do that,” he said. “You know, the typical soccer mom in the lawn chair who yells at every single call you make. Other than that, the kids are fantastic. Normally, it’s just comments from parents — none of which I can repeat.”


Erin Schaper: Kiddie Kollege 

While most teenagers find it strenuous to babysit one family’s children, she’s watching an entire class. Children riled up from school turn to her guidance and direction. Not to mention, there’s at least 15 of them.

Senior Erin Schaper’s aunt, assistant director of Kiddie Kollege, introduced her to working at the daycare.

“I work with the school-age kids,” she said. “I help them with homework, get snacks ready, then I vacuum and take out the trash.”

Kiddie Kollege cares for a range of ages from babies to fifth graders, but Schaper said her favorite age group is kindergarten.

“It’s definitely a stress reliever,” Schaper said. “After school, if I’m super worn out, then the kids always cheer me up.”

Schaper works after school on weekdays until Kiddie Kollege closes at 6 p.m., but she works longer hours over the summer.

“My favorite memory was this summer when my boss did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in front of everybody, and all the kids watched,” she said.

Along with the good times, Schaper said unfortunate things happen at work, too.

“One time this kid defecated all over the toys, so I had to clean all of those,” she said. “It was just a mess. It was disgusting.”

Schaper works with her family, including her cousin junior Marie Hornung, and she said she’s grateful for the opportunity.

“It’s kind of a family business,” she said. “I love my aunt, and we’ve gotten way closer from just seeing each other every day. It’s super relaxed.”


Hampton Williams: Nelson Atkins Teen Advisory Group 

The iconic shuttlecock stands in the distance, greeting visitors and art lovers, but junior Hampton Williams approaches it with a different purpose in mind. It takes the average person 40 minutes to reach the museum, but, with her shortcuts, she’s there in 20 — no use in being late for work.

Williams has been a member of the Nelson-Atkins Teen Advisory Group (TAG) since her freshman year, coordinating teen-centered events.

“It’s the perfect way to get teens more involved in art,” she said. “It’s teens planning events for other teens, so we know what would be interesting. It’s not some 40-year-old woman planning an event that would be really lame.”

Though she is now paid, Williams began working at the museum as a volunteer.

Williams said her work at TAG immerses her in her passion — art.

“You get surrounded by art, and you get way more knowledgeable about it,” she said. “You’re always surrounded by creative people.”

She said working at the Nelson-Atkins gave her experiences she otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“You get to meet a lot of cool people,” she said. “It’s really cool to be involved in the art scene at a young age.”

Williams meets with other TAG members once a week to discuss upcoming events, including a monthly open mic night.

“I really like open mic nights,” she said. “Everyone gets to come out and do their own thing. It’s an adult job for a teenager. You actually get to have say in what a huge establishment like the Nelson-Atkins Museum does.”