Devin Clark has something extra to go along with his academic achievements — character.

“He is a very outgoing young man, respected by his peers and the staff alike and always has a smile on his face,” said Bambi Berger, a school counselor at Akron Early College High School. “He shows he is a team leader in all areas and does so in an exemplary way.”

Clark, a 2016 Akron Beacon Journal Star Student, spent his senior year as an Akron Early College High School student, juggling a full time course load at the University of Akron, working part-time as a host at Outback Steakhouse and volunteering in the community through the Alpha Core of Excellence Program and as a member and second vice president of Akron Peacemakers.

“I love building relationships with people and serving my community,” Clark said. “Akron Peacemakers gave me a chance to learn things about Akron that I never knew and gave me a wonderful opportunity to volunteer all over Akron.”

Peacemakers (www.akronpeacemakers.org) is a youth civic and anti-crime program that helps high school students learn about the city’s government, police department and community organizations and offers them volunteer and mentorship opportunities. The group is sponsored by the Akron Mayor’s Office of Community Relations.

“Devin has a genuine concern about what’s going on in the city of Akron and wants to give all that he has to help make Akron strong,” said Willa Keith, coordinator of the Peacemakers project. “He is truly a working model of our mission to identify, analyze and respond to community problems.”

Since joining the group in his freshman year, Clark, 18, has performed nearly 300 hours of community service.

He is also a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board, manages the Peacemakers’ annual Teen Expo and serves on the group’s public speaking committee.

Keith describes Clark’s ability to communicate his ideas as “extraordinary,” saying he “has a commanding presence at the table during discussions with international delegations seeking insight on how American teenagers address issues of peace, student rights and advocacy and when addressing audiences.”

Clark said the speaking opportunities afforded him through Peacemakers helped him discover his passion for communications. That zeal has prompted him to change his initial plan to study nursing to pursuing a career in sales management.

“It’s the communications piece that moved me to sales,” Clark said. “I just enjoy people. I have been told many times by customers after I’ve greeted them that I have great communications skills. Once I started exploring careers in sales, I realized there were a lot of different paths to take.”

Last July, Clark represented the Peacemakers at the National Teen Leadership Program in Orange, Calif., which motivated him to help spearhead the effort to host a teen leadership conference in Akron. The “Find the Leader in You” conference, for students entering ninth and 10th grades, is planned for June 18 at the National Inventors Hall of Fame STEM Community Learning Center.

Clark has also led other community service projects with Peacemakers, including National Night Out Against Crime, Victim Assistance Angel Tree Ceremony (an event honoring homicide victims) and a safety initiative called “You and the Law,” which provides palm-size cards, booklets and workshops to educate youth about how to respond when interacting with police.

This fall, Clark plans to continue his education at the University of Akron as a third-year student, having earned 67 credit hours there and maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

He is the recipient of an Innovation Generation Scholarship, served as one of four valedictorians in his high school class and earned an associate of science degree at the University of Akron.

Clark credits his parents with motivating him to be the best that he can be. He’s trusting God to continue leading him in the right direction.

“I’m asking God to guide me along the right path,” Clark said. “I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I know there is someone who lives inside me who has a pretty good idea.”

Colette Jenkins can be reached at 330-996-3731 or cjenkins@thebeaconjournal.com. She can be followed at www.twitter.com/ColetteMJenkins.