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Naples Florida Weekly: Two Collier high school students selected as 2022 Student Leaders

In Collier County, fewer than 50% of residents aged 24-65 have earned a twoyear degree or higher, according to the Florida College Access Network. Without access to career skills-building opportunities like the Student Leaders program, many young people may be left behind from a fast-changing job market, leading to higher rates of youth unemployment. Along with the Student Leaders program, Bank of America is connecting more than five teens and young adults to paid jobs and internships across Southwest Florida with Boys and Girls Clubs of Lee County and The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

The Class of 2022 Southwest Florida Bank of America Student Leaders are:

Allyson Horst: A senior at Barron Collier High School, Allyson founded the Health and Humanity Club at her school to help address poverty and homelessness by volunteering and partnering with local organizations. She aspires to expand the club to schools within Collier County so the rising generation can be educated on the struggles those with limited means face in their community. She is also involved with Grace Place for Children & Families, Meals of Hope, and her school’s student council.

Alfa Vergara-Nunez: A senior at Naples High School, is dedicated to giving back to her Hispanic community. As a minority with non-English speaking parents, she attended New Horizons, an organization providing after-school tutoring, mentoring and career guidance from kindergarten to eighth grade. Years later, she is giving back as a New Horizons volunteer helping their students with homework and overcoming language barriers so they can thrive.

The Southwest Florida-based Student Leaders are participating in programming that includes a collaborative project with Champions for Learning to create new content for the College and Career Toolkit as well as the classroom grant portals. As high school students, their input and recommendations are helping to shape the annual program plans.