At only eighteen years of age, Alexa Alcalay, a senior at Coral Gables High School, is already making a positive impact in her community and beyond. Besides excelling academically in an IB program and maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Alexa has tirelessly worked on multiple projects that benefit communities that are close to her heart.
An avid angler, Alexa grew up visiting Bimini frequently with her family while on vacation. About 2 years ago, she brought to the island a few books that had been donated by one of her neighbors to a summer reading camp. It was then when she saw a need for a library that would be easily accessible by children in Bimini.
With her mind set on helping the children by promoting literacy and education, Alexa spearheaded the creation of a library. She eventually connected with the principal of a local primary school who set aside an area at the school so that she could move forward with her plan. Now that she had a location, all she needed was books. Alexa sprang into action and organized book drives in Miami in which she collected nearly 1,000 books.
“Bimini has been such a big part of my life that when I saw that there was something I could do to help the local community, I couldn’t just stand by,” said Alexa. “It is my hope that the library will encourage children to love reading and learning.”
Today, the Bimini Primary School Library founded by Alexa is fully operational with hundreds of books sitting on newly built shelves for the children to explore different titles suited for different grade levels and interests.
But Alexa’s community service does not stop there. Alexa has been part of projects closer to home. Recently, Alexa along with some of her classmates at Coral Gables High School banded together to make their school more “green” by upgrading their school’s standard bicycle racks in an effort to encourage more students to ride their bikes to school.
Alexa and her classmates as well as fellow members of Gables Earth, an environmental club in the school, raised money through member fees to the club, holding candy sales and organizing woodworking workshops. They took donations from parents until their goal was met. The new bicycle rack at the Coral Gables High now sits on the Le Jeune side of campus.
The new racks not only help the environment but also promote a healthier lifestyle. To further encourage more teens to ride their bicycles to school, Gables Earth plans on rewarding those who utilize the racks by leaving treats on their bicycles.
A natural born leader, Alexa has been able to balance a great deal of responsibility throughout her high school years. She will graduate in the spring of 2015 and will, without a doubt, continue to leave a mark wherever life takes her.