Casco Bay High School Students Named BOA Student Leaders

Submitted by Tess Nacelewicz, Communications Coordinator, Portland Public Schools.

Pictured (from left) are Portland Superintendent Xavier Botana; Casco Bay High School students and BOA Student Leaders Imti Hassan and Gabriel Gomez; BOA representatives Rose Parsons and Bill Williamson; and Portland Board of Public Education Chair Roberto Rodriquez.

Two students from Casco Bay High School have been named 2019 Bank of America (BOA) Student Leaders: Gabriel Gomez and Imti Hassan. The BOA Student Leaders program helps connect community-minded high school students to jobs, skills development, and service.

The students were honored by the Portland Board of Public Education and Superintendent Xavier Botana at the Board’s June 18 meeting.

The Bank of America Student Leaders Program is a paid eight-week Internship and leadership Conference program fully funded by Bank of America. In 2019, BOA has increased the hourly pay from $10 to $15 per hour.

BOA Student Leaders participate in paid internships at a local nonprofit organization where they learn firsthand about the needs of the community and the critical role nonprofits play. BOA Student Leaders learn valuable civic, social and business leadership skills. In addition to the paid internship, each BOA Student Leader will attend the Student Leader Summit held in Washington, D.C. where they will explore how government,business and the nonprofit sectors work to address critical community needs.

Gabriel Gomez, who will be a senior at CBHS this fall, will intern this summer at United Way of Greater Portland.

CBHS Principal Derek Pierce described Gabe as “an excellent student and an equally impressive human being. Gabe’s self-effacing wit and impish grin are immediately charming, but his intelligence and integrity are what hold your respect. Academically, Gabe is one of our top students. He was in the first cohort of students to earn a Seal of Biliteracy, and he has achieved with honors in every discipline from art to math. He has earned an “A” in a college math class, and completed an internship in a music studio. Music has become a deep passion of Gabe’s in recent years. True to character, Gabe excels whether he’s playing solo or supporting others in an ensemble. Gabe is well regarded by adults and peers and will be a bridge-builder in any group.” Imti Hassan graduated from CBHS in June and will intern this summer at the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine.

Principal Pierce said, “Last summer, Imti Hassan was given the position of “Paradigm Shifter” at the renowned Seeds of Peace Camp. She is one of few 17-year-olds worthy of this daunting label. There is not a program (or community) on earth that would not benefit deeply from her exceptional, buoyant, inclusive and, yes, paradigm-shifting leadership. Imti’s experience as a leader is as deep as it is wide. Her relentless, affable positivity is matched by profound skills in facilitation, listening, making connections and problem solving. Imti was the first chairperson of CBHS cabinet and was voted as one of her class speakers at graduation. She will be attending Bates College this fall.”

Every year, through the Student Leaders program, BOA helps connect more than 200 community-minded high school juniors and seniors to employment, skills development and service.

This year, Bank of America will connect 280 community-minded high school juniors and seniors from 80 of their markets throughout the country to employment, skills development and service. This promising group will convene in Washington DC for a week for the Student Leader Summit built around three themes: Serve. Inspire. Change. As part of this, Bank of America is providing more than $4 million in funding this year to support nearly 3,000 summer jobs for youth and young adults through the Student Leaders program, as well as summer internships for young people from underrepresented communities across the country.

Student Leaders is part of BOA’s ongoing commitment to preparing young people for a brighter future. BOA looks for the next generation of community leaders – those with a passion for improving their community, and turning that passion into action.

At the Board’s meeting, Botana noted that “last year – for the first time ever – the Portland, Maine Market was designated a Student Leaders site. Bill Williamson, BOA Market President for Maine, is to be credited for advocating for this opportunity for Maine students.”

Botana continued, “All public and private schools in Portland are eligible to apply – and I’m thrilled that both last year and this year the honor and opportunity has been given to students from the Portland Public Schools! This is a tribute to our amazing students, but also to their schools – counselors, teachers and principals, for preparing them and supporting them in their applications.”

Also present at the meeting were Gabe’s parents, Carlos Gomez & Melissa McStay; Imti’s mother and father, Sadia Abdirahman and Mohmamed Hassan; Bill Williamson, BOA Market President for Maine, Senior Vice President, Senior Client Manager, Commercial Banking; and Rose Parsons, BOA Vice President, Market Manager, Maine.