WASHINGTON – Donise Jackson,17,manages money for her senior class and the Student Government Association at Eastern Senior High School.
In the future she plans to manage recording artists.
“I like music,but I don't want to be a singer,” said the three-year member of Eastern's choir. “I want to manage artists.”
The skills that Jackson has acquired as treasurer are proving useful as she fundraises to finance a degree in music management at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Ten scholarship applications later,she now has money to place in her college account.
Jackson is one of 32 public school students to benefit from a new program,the Economic Club of Washington David M. Rubenstein Scholarship. The club,which handles public and private sector economic policy,awarded $5,000 scholarships to two students from each of the District of Columbia's 16 public high schools at a dinner Tuesday.
“The Economic Club always has maintained close ties with the Greater Washington community,focusing in particular on ways to advance the education of Washington's young people,” said Mary Brady,the club's executive director.
Named after the club's president,who is the co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group,one of the world's largest private-equity firms,the scholarship is awarded on the basis of merit and need. It also offers mentoring. A committee at each D.C. high school chose the scholarship recipients.
“David thought it was important to take that focus to a new level in support of the efforts of Mayor Adrian Fenty and [D.C. schools] Chancellor Michelle Rhee to galvanize education in the city's public schools,” Brady said.
There are about 50,000 students in the public school system,which includes 128 schools,16 of which are high schools. An estimated 58 percent of D.C. high school graduates go to college,according to the D.C. College Access Program.
Students who attend public schools often need financial help,Brady said.
Tambo Prince,17,of Benjamin Banneker Senior High School,a college preparatory school,hears his major – architecture – is expensive.
He always knew he wanted to be an architect,but in his senior year he began to second guess his career choice,and it was not because of the money.
“I became skeptical,” he said,”when I didn't do well in my AP calculus class.”
He passed the course with a D and reassured himself that,when he attends Temple University,his love for drawing will encourage him to keep architecture as his major. His sister just graduated from the Philadelphia school.
While Prince is convinced,the Economic Club of Washington recognizes that a lot of students are unclear about what careers they want to pursue. The mentoring program will expose them to different career paths.
Three club members,who work for HSBC,PricewaterhouseCoopers and Accenture,will each spend a day with the group to provide coaching.
Ricarda Ganjam,an Accenture senior manager,said the students will participate in a workshop to include a panel discussion with current interns and goal setting.
“We want to help them mentally picture their potential and think about the steps to get to that next level,” she said.
Theodore Roosevelt High School's Yohana Ghidei,18,plans to go to medical school. Thanks to the award,she is about $2,000 away from starting on her track as a biology major at Pennsylvania State University.
A love for kids drives Ghidei's aspiration of becoming a pediatrician. She hopes to go to Africa and improve the condition of children victimized by disease.
“I needed that money for school,” she said. “It reduces my chances of having to work and allows me to focus on school.”