The trio — who are all 18 and just graduated from high schools in Maryland – are among the more than 150 high schoolers in a work study program at the agency which gives them access and exposure to some of the country’s most sensitive information and secret efforts. For that they need TS/SCI, more commonly known as Top Secret security clearance, as high as clearances go. No small feat to get (just ask Jared Kushner) and a weighty responsibility for anyone, let alone teenagers from a generation that shares everything.
“Before that you don’t really understand and then when you get it you realize how much you have access to,” Summer says.
“It can be scary,” she adds, “because you know what’s out there.”
Balancing school and work was easy for Simon, who as a senior had enough credits to only need to take two morning classes, then he headed to work in the afternoon. He calls getting top secret clearance a “golden key” that opens up all sorts of doors in the future.