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Bob Hope summer internships benefit graduates, Greater Port Arthur community

Alumni from Bob Hope School returned to their old stomping grounds this week to help the school invest in the community.

After completing at least a year of college, Bob Hope graduates are eligible to come back for the summer and work as an intern for the school.

Campus Director Jesús Acosta said the program is a vision of CEO Dr. Bobby Lopez.

“I am so impressed with everything these kids have been through,” Acosta said. “If you think about it, they have been through (Hurricane) Harvey, all the different hurricanes and flooding, the pandemic. We are proud of them.”

The nine interns are separated by their majors and will work at the school in their respective fields.

Bob Hope School CEO Bobby Lopez talks to graduating seniors in the gymnasium Thursday. (Chris Moore/The News)

“We have a girl who is majoring in finance, so she will work with our finance department,” Acosta said. “Some of them are tutoring. The ones who want to be teachers are tutoring half days in summer school. In the afternoon, they will work with a different office.”

While some internships only pay with experience, this program is offering $15 an hour.

“We want them to connect to the community and come back,” Acosta said. “A lot of times, if you are in a smaller city, the people leave and don’t return. We have a lot of talent here. We have all of these students going off to college. If they come back, it will show the other students they can do it.”

Valeria Gutierrez and Jocelyn Diaz graduated from Bob Hope School in 2020 and joined the program this summer. Gutierrez attends Stephen F. Austin, while Diaz is entering her second year at Emory University. Both, along with the others in the program, spoke to graduating Class of 2021 seniors this week.

“I still feel like I have a lot to learn,” Diaz said. “We went through a pandemic, so this class is not going to go through what we went through. I feel like I can still teach them something even though I still have more to learn.”

Gutierrez said she wanted to come back to help the school that helped her.

“This school has helped me a lot,” she said. “I took dual-credit classes here, so I was able to start college as a sophomore.”

Acosta said he already has graduating seniors chomping at the bit to join the program in 2022.

“A few seniors have come up to me and asked if they can get in this year,” he said laughing. “I had to tell them that it is only after you complete the first year of college.”