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Meeting the Mayor Leads Chicago Teen to Dream Internship

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A Chicago teen who impressed Mayor Emanuel at a chance meeting gets a chance to work at City Hall. Mary Ann Ahern reports.

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It was a chance meeting earlier this spring with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 18-year-old Martell Cowan… a meeting that lead to Cowan landing an internship at Chicago’s City Hall.

Cowan participates in the Windy City Hoops basketball league on Friday and Saturday nights. That’s where he made sure he met Emanuel when the mayor toured the league at Columbus Park.

From that chance meeting, the mayor was so impressed he offered Cowan a ride home. As the teenager was about to exit the mayor’s SUV he told the mayor “have a blessed evening.”

Those words so impressed the mayor he’s been talking about
Cowan ever since.

Mayor Emanuel has used Cowan’s words as an example of the many teenagers many never hear about.

Cowan will be senior at Urban Prep this fall and is excited about applying to college. The City Hall internship is his very first job and he says just coming into the loop has been “surreal.”

“When I step into the building I feel like I’m dreaming,” he said.

Emanuel has also given Cowan a homework assignment. Both are reading the novel Divergent, a story based in Chicago. Filmmakers are actually filming the movie in the city this summer and the mayor has promised “to take him where they’re filming the movie.”

Cowan can’t wait.

Overall, it’s been one incredible summer for Cowan.

“I’m not the only person who tells people to have a blessed day,” he said. “I stick to what I know and what I believe.”
 

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