WEST CHATHAM — Three Chicago students will attend a five-day student summit in Washington, D.C. next month and Simeon Career Academy High School senior Jada Smith is one of them.
The 17-year-old Calumet Heights resident will join Jackson Schultz, a senior at Jones College Prep and Auburn Gresham resident Cyrus Goines, who graduated in June from George Westinghouse College Prep, at the summit from July 13-18. The student leadership summit will be attended by 220 students from across the country.
A total of 300 students locally applied for the 10th annual Bank of America Student Leadership Program, which provides an eight-week, paid summer internship at a local nonprofit.
Tim Maloney, Illinois president for the Bank of America, said a paid summer jobs help students stay safe and focused.
“As teens in Chicago once again face a tough time finding summer jobs, our Student Leaders program helps them build a solid foundation for future financial success," he said.
Smith is working 35 hours a week at the nonprofit Boys & Girls Club of Chicago in Morgan Park. She said she plans to pursue a business career that will allow her to help people.
"With my focus on business, I think it's fair to say I won't be a teacher," Smith said. "Although I think teachers do an amazing job and I have had some wonderful teachers in my life."
Smith, a member of the Simeon's National Honor Society with a 3.8 GPA, said her assistant principal encouraged her to apply for the program.
"It was a last-minute decision on my part to apply, but I'm glad I did," she said. "I felt really special when I found out I was one of five Chicago-area students chosen to participate in the program."
The purpose of the program, said Julie Chavez, senior vice president of market managers for Bank of America, is to "highlight our youths and to enhance their leadership ability."
While in Washington, Chavez said students will engage in a series of interactive workshops, such as financial education and leadership development skills, meet their U.S. senators and congressmen and also participate in panel discussions focused on global health and the issues of housing, hunger and jobs.
The bank will start accepting online applications for next year's program in late October and the deadline is January 2015.
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