Valley Parents: Springfield, N.H., Young Adult Works 2 Jobs to Help Pay for College

  • In Sunapee, N.H., Josh Levasseur, the Sunapee Harbor liaison officer talks with boater Jonathan Klingler, of Grantham, N.H., before Klingler launches his boat at the public launch in Sunapee Harbor on July 7, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley Parents Correspondent
Friday, August 03, 2018

Sunapee — Josh Levasseur has a level of drive and determination that is admirable for someoone his age.

Levasseur, who turned 20 this year works two part-time jobs, logging between 35 and 40 hours a week. On weekends, he is directing boaters and answering questions in Sunapee Harbor as the liaison officer for the Sunapee Police Department. During the week, Levasseur is a sales associate at TJ Maxx in Claremont, doing a variety of jobs with the retailer.

The thought of not working during the summer to help pay for college and have some spending money has never occurred to Levasseur.

“My goal is to have financial independence as early as possible and to pay for the things I want,” said Lavasseur, who used some of his earnings for a recent three-day trip to New York City. “I want to get a place of my own and do other things.”

Levasseur, of Springfield, N.H., is studying criminal justice at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord and expects to complete the two-year degree next June. His summer job earnings help pay for school and lease payments on his car as he commutes to NHTI.

“It makes the tuition more manageable,” he said, adding that his parents also help with his college expenses. “My father doesn’t mind helping as long as I am chipping in. They appreciate the fact I am working.”

Levasseur is among the high school and college population that sometimes has summers off, but getting a job during that time is becoming less and less of a priority for many and has been for years. Some focus on academics, sports or travel. Others have unpaid internships that they believe will better prepare them for their intended careers.

A 2016 graduate of Sunapee High School, Levasseur began working in 2014 in the kitchen and dining room of an assisted living community in Sunapee. Then after graduation in June 2016, he took the job with the police department. He had been doing what are called “ride alongs” with the department, and when he heard Chief David Cahill was looking for someone to fill the position of liaison, he applied.

Cahill said Levasseur has been doing a terrific job in the harbor.

“Josh is extremely mature for someone his age,” Cahill said. “He is very professional and responsible. We are lucky to have him.”

Levasseur likes the challenge of the job and the responsibility of helping the traffic to flow smoothly.

“When the boat traffic starts coming, they (police) need help down there because it gets really busy. Typically I work about six hours on Saturday and again on Sunday.”

But depending on the activities in the harbor, it can be longer. On July 7 this year, a Saturday, Levasseur was at his post from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. because there was a parade and fireworks at night.

He enjoys the interaction with the public, who he says for the most part is friendly and respects his authority.

“When people come to Sunapee Harbor, I am basically the face of the department,” he said. “People ask for directions but a big part of it is directing boat traffic and making sure they check in.”

The routine requires all boats that come into the harbor to take a side road away from the launch where a lake host volunteer will check the boat for invasive aquatic plants. From there, the boats line up and wait for Levasseur to wave them into the boat launch area. Though two boats could launch from the ramp, it is a tight squeeze so usually it is one.

Levasseur’s primary responsibility is to be sure everyone stays in line and goes through the proper process when coming to launch a boat, and he has become a familiar face to many regulars.

“Where’s Josh?” asked one boater who pulled up when Levasseur had stepped away for a few minutes.

“A few people have given me a hard time of varying degrees over the years,” Levasseur said. “One guy threatened to sue me and get the state involved.”

But for the most part, boaters and others are cordial and follow the rules.

“Most have been here before and know what they are doing,” Levasseur said.

At TJ Maxx, where Levasseur began working in May, he could be on the register, sales floor or monitoring the fitting room. While he does get some free time, some weeks he will have work at either job all seven days.

Levasseur says his situation is not atypical in the Sunapee area. Most of his friends have summer jobs and there are a lot seasonal jobs around the lake during the summer for high school and college students.

“Most of my friends have jobs in the area,” Levasseur said, adding that he doesn’t think about those who opt to pursue other interests. “I enjoy it and it helps pay for what I need.”

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@msn.com