Last Friday, 15 students from three different New York City high schools—Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School, High School of Fashion Industries, and High School of Art and Design—celebrated their graduation from the Fred Pressman Summer Youth Program with various members of the Barneys staff.

Originally launched by Fred Pressman, son of Barneys New York founder Barney Pressman, the program has helped more than 1,000 students navigate the professional world, fostering professionalism and curiosity. Students are immersed in a six-week program that allows them to work with Barneys team members in corporate and at the Madison Avenue and Downtown flagship stores.

Grace Fu, EVP of Human Resources, General Counsel & Secretary explains, “In addition to their hands-on experiences in store, the Fred Pressman Summer Youth Program provides students with broad insights into Barneys New York. Throughout the course of their time with Barneys, students listen in on panels featuring Barneys team members across all different areas of the business, including creative, merchandising, marketing, communications, digital, technology, finance, human resources, and legal.”

The panelists included Barneys CEO Daniella Vitale, Fashion Director Marina Larroude, Creative Director Matt Mazzuca, and more. Students also took workshops in résumé writing, interviewing skills, and business etiquette.

All 15 students in the Fred Pressman Summer Youth Program ’18 and May Pierre, who oversaw the program, pose with their certificates for a group photo.

The students not only learned a great deal in the working environment, but they also received advice on how to be their best selves. Elisabel Ruiz, from Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School, says she was advised to speak up more and to break out of her shell. Ruiz, along with her other Chelsea classmates, say they developed a newfound admiration for the fashion industry by touring the store and shadowing employees.

At the graduation, the students were praised for their genuine curiosity and engagement. “This year’s group of students were amazing. They really took advantage of every learning opportunity and were highly engaged throughout the whole process. They asked great questions during their weekly panels and were excellent members of the store team during their time in our flagship locations. They all have a bright future ahead of them, and we hope we continue to be a resource for them,” says May Pierre, Training and Development Manager, who oversaw and organized the program.

Fu also found this group to be particularly strong. “This year’s students were exceptional in terms of their academic accomplishments, engagement, and willingness to learn. We were very lucky to have them with us and know each of the students has a bright future ahead!”

Ashley Diaz, first-place scholarship recipient, holds her diploma with May Pierre.

Toward the end of the ceremony, three students were awarded a scholarship to aid in tuition for their college of choice. The two second-place winners were Alegra Gibbs, High School of Fashion Industries, and Diany Quezada, High School of Art and Design. In first place was Ashley Diaz, High School of Fashion Industries. In her essay about what she learned from the program, Diaz writes, “I learned the best way to win is working collectively, efficiently, and understanding my teammates and their skills. This summer I’ve been part of a team that runs on expression, innovation, legacy, and opportunity, which paints a captivating image of the industry that I wish to be a part of in the future.” We could not agree with her sentiments more.

Join us in wishing our 2018 Fred Pressman Youth Program graduates a congratulations!

Brandon Cole Ramos

Keith Garcia Munoz

Elisabel Ruiz

Ashley Diaz

Sharlene Bodia

Kelly Schliefer

Kaitlyn Gurdyal

Mia Dejesus

Alegra Gibbs

Veronica Adu

Jessica Parra Ventura

Navae Moise

Aaqil Oliver

Lee Borum

Diany Quezada