Coral Gables High senior Rachel Ellis volunteers with the Friendship Circle in Miami. She has been paired with a young boy named Jake since she was in the seventh grade.
“I make weekly visits to his home,” Ellis said. “So he has a friend to play with.”
Her charge is now 9 years old.
“I have gotten a chance to watch him grow over the years and learn different communication skills,” she said. “He is very active and I like sports as well. We both like to be outside. We play soccer; we ride our bikes and play basketball.”
Ellis loves outdoors sports. She started the Coral Gables High School Sailing Club that meets in Coconut Grove. Because of liability issues, it’s not an official school organization but everybody on the team has to attend Gables.
“Basically, I’ve been sailing since I was 7 years old, racing competitively,” she said. “When I was 13, I started sailing a bigger boat, called a 420. I’ve competed in local, national and international regattas since the age of 7.”
She sails competitively with the Coral Reef Yacht Club Youth Sail out of Coral Reef Yacht Club.
“One of my biggest transitions was learning how to sail with someone else,” she saidx. “In the Optimist you are sailing by yourself and you call the shots. The 420 is a two-person boat.”
There are eight club members and they are coached by Ransom Everglades.
“Everybody that is on the team has had previous racing experience. My hope for the future is to have people who have never sailed get involved,” she said.
Ellis is secretary of the National Honor Society and a member of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society. She also is a sports writer for the school paper.
Ellis is considering a major in broadcast journalism in college and is interested in sports journalism. She also is interested in exercise sciences/physical therapy.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld