From making small changes in their communities to now leading them, two recent high school graduates and two high school seniors were chosen as Bank of America Student Leaders this summer for their work with community-focused initiatives and their passion for helping others.
Every year, the Student Leaders program at Bank of America selects 300 juniors and seniors across the United States who volunteer their time to make a difference in their communities. This year’s recipients in the Orange County area include Jenny Chavez from Katella High School, Cindy Ding from Portola High School, Jay Morgan from Huntington Beach High School and Kevin Sohn from Northwood High School.
After being selected to join the program this summer, each student began an eight-week paid internship that allows them to continue serving their communities while gaining first-hand experience of what it takes to enter the workforce.
During their internships, they earn $17 per hour while working at local organizations Orange County United Way and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast, where they get to learn from mentors and collaborate on projects. Following last year’s virtual program format, this year’s scholars will have the opportunity to join in-person activities in addition to working remotely on their Chromebooks.
Due to rapid changes in the job market, many young adults can struggle to find jobs, leading to increased rates of youth unemployment. To alleviate this issue, Bank of America has helped open up career and educational opportunities for teens and young adults across the country through its multiple youth programs.
Bank of America Orange County President Allen Staff said in a statement, “These students are the future of Orange County, which is why programs like Student Leaders are one way we can provide paid opportunities for them to gain positive employment experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter our local workforce.”
In addition to adding work experience to their resumés, the students will participate in the Student Leadership Summit, hosted virtually by the Close Up Foundation as well as the Stanford University Young Democracy at Home program.
Here’s more about the 2022 Bank of America Orange County Student Leaders:
Jenny Chavez, Katella High School
Jenny served as a digital marketing intern for Cambridge Virtual Academy. Through this opportunity with Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience, Jenny raised awareness for families who needed assistance with remote learning during the pandemic. Now, the first-generation college student is gearing up to enter her freshman year at the University of California, Berkeley as a business major.
Jay Morgan, Huntington Beach High School
Jay is highly involved in school, including his role as a peer tutor for students who struggle with mathematics. When he’s not helping others with difficult subjects, he serves as captain of his high school soccer team. After graduating with honors, Jay will attend Arizona State University and study mechanical engineering.
Cindy Ding, Portola High School
Cindy cofounded a non-profit program that reached six local libraries with 300 enrolled students before she entered her senior year of high school. The goal of her program is to teach kids of all ages to code computer software, and she also offers career counseling to students.
Kevin Sohn, Northwood High School
As a rising senior, Kevin has been volunteering his time teaching computer software coding to kids living with domestic violence and homelessness through a non-profit organization called Open Sesame Coding for kids. At Northwood High School, he works on the school newspaper and plays first-chair clarinet.