Christopher Delgado's dream job is chemical engineer. He's taking an unusual first step this week by serving up Big Macs and fries.
"I could always use the experience," said Delgado, 16, a student at Highlands High School.
He is among nearly 200 students taking orders and flipping burgers this week at Camp Mickey D's, a collaboration between the Greater San Antonio McDonald's Owner/Operator Association and 15 area high schools from North East ISD, Northside ISD, San Antonio ISD, Judson ISD and Lackland ISD.
"I think when people come to Camp Mickey D's, they think, 'Well, this is going to teach me how to work at McDonalds.' What they don't realize is that it's not about that," said program founder Sybel Pici. "Camp Mickey D's is about helping young people understand their strengths, develop skills, and they leave camp equipped to go get that first job anywhere."
Debrenna Johnson hopes to go into the nursing field. She thinks the lessons she's learned at the camp will help her down the road.
"I feel like I'll have better communication skills, and I'll be able to multi-task with things," Johnson said.
The teens get practical lessons in workplace safety and hygiene as well as real-life experience using critical thinking and leadership skills.
"They also have a chance to form and bond as a team," Pici said. "Even though it's with people they don't hang out with at school, all of a sudden, they're in a scenario where their ability to work together is directly related to their success."
Working the counters and taking orders from patrons is an opportunity for the teens to learn the difference in customer service and customer satisfaction.
"Here, they are teaching me how to be a better person, how to communicate with people, be fast-paced, how to multi-task, how to put a smile on somebody's face." said Highlands High School student Ricardo Wilfredo.