When she visited Bimini, Coral Gables High senior Alexa Alcalay realized that the children did not have high educational opportunities. She decided to help by providing books for the children in Bimini to read by starting a program called Books for Bimini and creating the first library on the island.
“When I would spend time in the summer there, I befriended a lot of kids on the island. I also befriended some adults,” she said. “They were always taking about what they were lacking. We were bringing second-hand clothes. They told us they also needed books.”
When she returned home, she launched a book drive in her community. Then, in the summer, she would work at the swim camp and read to the children during the breaks.
“I did that for two summers. On the third summer the principal gave us the ability to build a library,” she said. “They were adding a new building to the primary school so they let me put the library in that building.”
Alcalay is the Silver Knight nominee for Gables in the General Scholarship category.
At school, Alcalay is in the National Honor Society and on the board of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society. She also is the senior class treasurer, captain of the Gables tennis team and a member of the ecoclub, Gables Earth.
“This year we installed the first bike rack at the school,” she said. “We’re trying to promote more energy conservation and bike safety throughout the school.”
Outside of school, Alcalay is involved in Friendship Circle at the Chabad of the Grove.
“We go to the facility at the temple every other Sunday and play with the children there and spend time with them,” she said. “It’s really interesting. It takes a lot of patience.”
She is interested in majoring in international relations in college. After that, she’s considering a future in politics. Her early acceptances have been from the University of Michigan and FIU.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld