Just a few weeks ago, Linda Villa was a high school senior, looking to graduate. Today, Villa and her sister, Leidy, are graduates and on their way to the University of Florida for college.
While in high school, Villa volunteered at Shake-A-Leg in Coconut Grove working in the Outrigger Section where she was in charge of the kayaks. She volunteered so much she earned 1,300 community service hours.
“We dealt with all age groups, ethnicities and kids with disability,” she said.
“We’ve been going for about three summers,” she said, adding that they are volunteering again this summer, if they have time.
Being around the children hasn’t changed her mind about her ambition to become a diplomat who can make a difference for the Middle East by helping resolve the Arab and Israeli conflict.
“I want to try and mediate the tension,” she said. Her plan is to finish college and then go into the U.S. Air Force.
“Then after the military, go into the United Nations,” Villa said.
While at Gables High, she was a member of the National Honor Society, English Honor Society, Student Council treasurer and president of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society. She also helped co-found a 5K event called Stride for Senegal, which replaced Bridge for Peace.
“Last year I saw Bridge for Peace wasn’t as successful financially (as in the past),” she said. “I wanted to partner up with my other friend, who was also thinking about a 5K, to have an even more successful international event.”
Senegal was chosen because a friend’s sister moved there for a year and is living with a host family.
After much consultation, they decided the best solution (to a problem presented to them) was to fix up their water system.
“Before, they would have to walk down the hill to get water from a lake,” Villa said.