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Young CEO’s Take Over Springfield YMCA


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — There was a shakeup at the Springfield YMCA Wednesday. Two fifth graders took over as the boss for a day.

When Springfield Public Schools held an essay contest about what it’s like to be in charge, the two winners were made co-CEO’s for the day and made quite an impression on the job.

Meet the new co-CEO’s of the Springfield YMCA, for Wednesday – Christian Santiago and Jazmin Ortiz. The pair were given the top title after winning an essay contest at their schools

“The whole YMCA is like a tree and the CEO is like the roots and the middle is like the site directors and then the branches are the staff and the leaves are the kids,” says Ortiz.

“[How does it feel to be the boss of a big organization?] I feel so energetic. I feel like so happy,” adds Santiago.

Both whiz kids are fifth graders, Ortiz at Sumner Elementary and Santiago at Glenwoods Elementary.

For today, Kirk Smith is relinquishing is title as boss.

“The idea is to give these young people a vision…to sit in that boardroom with all those dignitaries and presidents and bank presidents. If young people can just have a vision, I know for me growing up, it was the vision that I had that really drove me so the idea is give them vision. If a guy like me can do it, anyone can,” Smith notes.

Ortiz and Santiago are bright, capable, and more than happy to accept the perks of being a CEO.

“[We understand that CEO’s make a lot of money] Yes, a lot of dough-re-me, if you know what I’m talking about,” Santiago says.

If it’s not about the Benjamin’s, it’s at least about the boost they get from knowing that there hard work at school was paying off.

“If they promise me from that they will graduate from the fifth grade, I will attend their graduation and give their families a free membership to the Y for a full year,” Smith adds.

Smith says the contest helps students learn about the responsibility of being the boss and preps them to achieve more as they continue their education.

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