McGinnis, Mahfouz intern as BOA student leaders

Two high school graduates, Elijah McGinnis and Perri-Hann Mahfouz, are embarking on an internship as part of Bank of America Student Leaders for 2022 program.

They were among 30 students who applied for the internship for Knox County. The BOA Student Leaders internship is an eight-week summer program — June 6 through July 29 — providing students with first-hand experience in serving their communities.

“I was over the moon,” McGinnis, a Class of 2022 graduate of Hardin Valley Academy, said about hearing the news he was chosen. “I was estatic when I got it.”

“I was definitely excited,” Mahfouz, a Class of 2002 Webb School of Knoxville graduate, said about receiving the internship.

McGinnis already has been active in his community, but saw the internship as “a great opportunity.”

He serves as president of the District Youth Council for the A.M.E. Zion Church, where he is responsible for implementing youth programs and ensuring youth’s concerns are heard. “I wanted to be more involved in the community, and this would be a great road for me,” he said. “I want to impact my community, really.”

McGinnis also spearheaded environmental cleanup projects among his peers and served as a leader in HVA Spirit of the Valley Marching Band, concert band and percussion ensemble, where he was chosen as the percussion section leader.

The son of LeiAndrea Imes, McGinnis will be attending Tennessee Tech University, majoring in political science and minoring in music education.

Mahfouz also is not new to community engagement.

“I have my own non-profit, so I really wanted to learn more about the non-profit industry, how things work and to get more mentorship in that way,” she said. “Also, I’m very passionate about my community.”

Mahfouz is founder and CEO of the nonprofit Heals with Meals, which teaches children the correlation between self-esteem and nutrition while also providing nutritious foods for underserved children.

She explained Heals with Meals is centered around the concept of wellness and the social justice issue of malnutrition in food-deserted areas.

Mahfouz also teaches young girls about nutrition through Girls Inc. and tutors her peers in writing and English.

The daughter of Mohamed and Kimberly Mahfouz, she will be attending University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the fall, where Mahfouz will be on a pre-med track hoping to become a pediatrician.

They also develop workforce skills, leadership and civic engagement with local nonprofits, such as The Restoration House of East Tennessee.

“As part of the program, they will earn $17 per hour and receive a Chromebook,” said Mary Scott DeVault with Bank of America.

“This year, students will have the option to voluntarily participate in in-person activities as part of the internship,” she added.

The bank has been offering the program in 91 cities across the country for a little more than 20 years, said Lina Kornmeyer Evans, Bank of America Knoxville market executive who handles the Student Leader Program.

“Here in Knoxville, what we do is we open up invitations to high school juniors and seniors during the school year,” she added.

“The bank funds a local non-profit to hire two selective students (rising high school seniors and college freshmen) to be interns for the summer,” Evans said.

During one of the eight weeks, “we do a Washington, D.C., summit, where Elijah and Perri will be participating in a virtual summit,” Evans said.

“The point of the program is to give young people who are civically engaged, committed to their communities and high achievers, an opportunity to really get involved with a non-profit,” she added.

“To see the ins and outs, to see the public and private partnerships, really see how non-profits are run and to have a really unique opportunity to give back to the community.”