Coral Gables High senior Evan Opland has accumulated 1,200 or more community service hours. He earned many of those hours by volunteering for the Julien Collot Foundation, which raises money for Sloan Kettering Cancer Research in New York.
A close family friend started the foundation on the death of her son from cancer. Opland helps with event coordination and he also participates. One of the events is the Ragnar Relay Race, in which participants run from Miami to Key West.
Everyone runs about 20 miles,” he said. “It’s split up over two days. Every person has three portions that they run. I had the first one in the afternoon and the second one was at 3:30 a.m.”
At school, Opland is president of the French club. He took French because of his mom’s side of the family is French Polynesian.
“We assist in a lot of the school functions,” he saids.
The club recently took part in the Stride for Senegal 5K. The money raised was going to a rural village in Senegal to help villagers build a community garden.
“We donated a lot of food,” he said. “We also had volunteers working for them in various capacities. And we had a few runners.”
Opland also is very involved in the JROTC at Gables. JROTC members often are sent into the community to help at events, helping people with information and helping keep the peace.
Opland’s goal is to pursue a career in the military. In fact, he has received an ROTC scholarship and chose to attend the University of California-Berkley.
“As part of the agreement of the scholarship, you have to give them eight years of service,” he said. “A lot of people make a career of it.”
Interestingly, he chose UC Berkley because of SEAL teams are trained in Coronado and because of California’s wide variety of terrain. He enjoys the physical training required by the military and he likes being active and outdoors.
While at UC Berkley he plans to major in either business or industrial engineering.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld