The Dallas Mayor’s Intern program celebrated its biggest year yet with a luncheon on Thursday that allowed the hundreds of participating Dallas public high school students to celebrate their hard work.
As Mayor Mike Rawlings took the stage at the Omni Hotel, he congratulated the 350 student interns for helping improve the city. Rawlings commended the students for their aspirations and communication skills that helped them stand out from the more than 1,000 students who applied to the program. The Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, which is modeled after the White House Fellows Program, is an eight-week paid summer internship that allows students from Dallas ISD and public charter high schools to learn skills from a variety of fields, including technology, healthcare, and education.
“We’re here as a community to make our city better and to make our neighborhoods better,” Rawlings said. “The best way to do that is not with old people like me. It is with young people like you.”
Rawlings also thanked the 94 businesses and 124 nonprofit organizations for partnering and sponsoring the program. In total, the interns worked more than 10,000 hours and grossed approximately $700,000 this year. Since the program began in 2008, approximately 1,400 Dallas public high school students have participated.
Other speakers at the luncheon included Dallas ISD alumni Cynthia Izaguirre of WFAA, Casey Gerald, a Dallas ISD alum who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and Interim Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.
Hinojosa offered advice to the young students as they reach the end of their eight-week internships.
“Hopefully you’ve taken every opportunity to share the excitement that you’ve had this summer,” he said. “But, most importantly, you look to the future with hope and aspiration. Have a little pep in your step and pride in your stride, because this city loves you.”
Chandler Thomas, senior at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is a second-year intern at the Woodall Rodger Park Foundation. He said internships give students a head start in choosing career paths.
“The Mayor’s Internship program essentially throws you into the real world, and that’s what you need to be a step ahead of the crowd,” he said.
The luncheon featured a compilation of videos that students made throughout their internships. View the video above.