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Fifth-Year Competitive Intern Program Nets 20 Students College Scholarships


June 23, 2008 - PENCIL, a non-profit organization that builds and supports customized relationships between business leaders and principals and, the nation’s leading tele-retailer of mattresses and bedding accessories, have partnered to provide 20 students at Newcomers High School an internship that promotes creativity, teamwork, organization and time management skills.


PENCIL’s mission, to inspire innovation and transform public schools, coupled with’s unique “Apprentice” style internship provides the students real world experience and a stage to compete for scholarship money to continue their education.


“We pride ourselves on not only servicing our customers, but also to provide a service to the community in which we live and do business,” said Napoleon Barragan, founder and CEO. “Since 2005, we have awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to students through the PENCIL program.”


More than 80 students from Newcomers High School have taken part in the program with This year’s program, which runs from February through June, consists of 20 students from nine different countries that are divided into four teams of five.


Midway through the internship, the groups interview various executives from within the company and come to a consensus on a topic for their group research project. The team then works on researching information for an essay and a live presentation delivered in front of their colleagues, teachers, mentors and families.


The essay, slideshow and presentation are evaluated by a panel from that rate the various teams on their work. The top team’s members each receive $1,500 scholarships and the other teams receive $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively.


The top prize went to a group whose presentation was Web site focused entitled "Chronology of the website and practical recommendations." The five student group received $1,500 college scholarships each and the students hail from China, Myanmar, Mexico, Bangladesh and Ecuador before moving to the United States.


“The partnership that has developed with Newcomers High School over the last five years exemplifies that commitment to education and the long-term development of future business leaders,” said PENCIL president Michael Haberman. “It serves as a model for the hundreds of other partnerships in our network by demonstrating the unique value of experiential learning opportunities.”


“We have kept in contact with many of our past interns and they have related how their experience has helped give them a leg up in their desired field,” said Daniel Aguirre, internship program director. “Three students have completed the program and have come back to work for the company and we feel confident that number will increase over time. We are providing these students with the business needed to succeed in business.”


Founded in 1976, is the leading national, multi-channel (internet, chat, call center and showrooms) retailer of mattresses, box springs and bedding products. Its award-winning customer service is well chronicled in thousands of media articles and books.


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