InsideNoVa: Wakefield High grad honored by Urban Alliance for internship success

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Wakefield High grad honored by Urban Alliance for internship success
Published: July 21, 2018

Recent Wakefield High School graduate Deborah (Debby) Jaldin won one of six awards for her critical-thinking skills during a July 12 event celebrating students’ completion of the Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program.

Jaldin was one of 74 recent high-school graduates from Arlington and Fairfax counties and the city of Alexandria to participate in the program. Twenty-four Arlington students, from Wakefield and Washington-Lee high schools, took part.

Jaldin interned for Virginia Tech’s Professional and Continued Education program, located at the university’s Arlington campus.

Jaldin said that after she first heard about Urban Alliance, she knew right away that she wanted to work for Virginia Tech, and made a “car wish” that it would happen.

When she found out she had been accepted as an intern at Virginia Tech through the program, “all I could remember was my car wish and that everything was coming true. I told my parents, and we all thought back to my wish, and my mom said, ‘Now nothing can stop you from pursuing your dreams,’” she said.

Jaldin won the critical-thinking award because her mentors at Virginia Tech, even from day one, were blown away by her insights and ideas, officials said.

Jaldin will attend Northern Virginia Community College in the fall, and plans to transfer to a four-year college (preferably Virginia Tech) to study business.

The Urban Alliance’s High School Internship Program is an intensive early-work experience for highschool seniors that includes a nine-month paid professional internship; weeks of pre-work professional-development training; weekly job and life skills workshops; post-high-school planning; mentoring from two caring adults; and ongoing post-high-school support.

The program culminated with a public-speaking challenge where interns sharpened their skills through presentations about their internships in front of panels of community leaders.