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Continuing its tradition of advancing students, the Bank of America Student Leaders internship recently selected 13 South Florida high school students and graduates to participate in this year’s program.
The paid summer internship program assists students in gaining exposure to public-private partnerships that promote community health and enact positive change.
Since beginning in 2004, the Student Leaders program has annually recognized 300 community-focused juniors and seniors across the country.
“We have a selection committee made up of community leaders and Bank of America volunteers,” said Lilia Ciciolla, community relations manager for Bank of America in Fort Lauderdale.
“This year we had a total of nine that review all the applications and they select the students for this year,” Ciciolla said. “I think this year we had over 100 applications. To dwindle down to those final four is difficult, but we always have such great representation.”
Adapting to a virtual format for the second year, the program works with organizations to provide the student leaders an opportunity to gain essential skills while earning a working wage.
In addition, student leaders also get to see how nonprofits, governments and businesses collaborate to meet local needs by participating in the national Student Leaders summit.
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They receive a laptop to ensure access to the lessons and summit. Earning $17 an hour, student leaders work 35 hours a week for eight weeks.
“There are four key components to the program,” Ciciolla said. “One of them being the work experience, leadership skills, civic engagement, and a great networking opportunity. We partner with the YMCA of South Florida, and through the internship, the students are gaining valuable skills such as strengthening their understanding of teamwork, having a work ethic, and developing critical communication skills.”
This year, four students were selected from Broward, five from Miami-Dade, and four from Palm Beach counties.
The winners included Oshmita Golam (Deerfield Beach High graduate), Grace Baek (Cypress Bay High senior), Enrique Montanez (St. Thomas Aquinas graduate), Nelia Louis (South Plantation High senior), Remy LeMaire (La Salle High senior), Jacob Grindstaff (Miami Palmetto Senior High graduate), Anthony Lara (Miami Senior High graduate), Kenya Handfield (Booker T. Washington High graduate), Thairol Borrego Oliva (Westland Hialeah Senior High graduate), Emma Ratchford (A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts graduate), Gabrielle Williams (Palm Beach Gardens High graduate), Jonathan Beres (Spanish River High graduate) and Raunak Manchanda (A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts senior).