Last summer, Palmetto High School junior (soon to be a senior) Michael Trainor spent a week in the Dominican Republic to build a house in a poor village in a remote area of the country. He worked hard but he was so impressed with the work that he’s going back this summer.
Trainor volunteers for the Village Mountain Mission Project, which is based at a local church.
“I was recommended by a friend who goes to the church,” he says. “They invited me and one of my friends to go last summer. I had an awesome time. I’m going with a new friend this summer, and hopefully do more work like last year.”
The volunteers dug a foundation, put in layers of concrete blocks and sand and then framed the walls with wood.
“The bottom three feet were concrete block and the walls were wood and the roof was wood,” he says. The contingent from Miami numbered four people who stayed at the project camp-site.
“We slept outdoors in hammocks with mosquito nets,” he says. “It was an interesting experience for me. I’d never been to a third world country. It makes me appreciate and value what I have here more. A lot more.”
When he came back he volunteered at the Deering Estate as a camp counselor for eight weeks.
“Last summer was my first summer doing it,” he says. “When I was a rising sophomore I tried but they had maximum capacity.”
This year he’s missing one week to go to the Dominican Republic so he’ll volunteer for nine or ten weeks this summer.
“I thought I wouldn’t like kids but they are fun to be around,” he says. “It’s basically all outdoor activities. We’ll do archery, we’ll go kayaking. We’ll go hiking at least twice a week. It’s 100 percent outdoors.”
Last year he was surprised by how much he liked it because he’s not an outdoor kind of guy.
“I’m an academic, studying, sometimes video games kind of guy,” he says. His academic creds are strong. This year, he won the FIU Book Award and in previous years he’s won the Social Science Sophomore of the Year Award and freshman year he won the Best Vocational Science Student Award.
He’s now the vice president of competition for the Social Science Honor Society. Which is a good job for a guy who has been in charge of many teams for the History Bowl. He’s been competing in the History Bowl since his freshman year. For two years in a row his team did well enough to go to the national competition in Washing-ton, D.C. and be the lower bracket winner.
“We didn’t win the whole thing but we got pretty far,” he says.
Trainor also competes in badminton. He’s the top seed in boys’ singles. Palmetto consistently goes to the GMACs in badminton and does well as a team. Last year he placed third in singles at the GMACs but this year he didn’t place.
Trainor says he was expected to play tennis as his siblings did but he likes badminton instead. He’s also on the bowling team.
An interesting fact about Trainor. He loves Shakespeare. Which can be helpful when competing in the History Bowl.
“I was one of the few in eighth grade when we read Hamlet to enjoy the story,” he says. “I thought the plot was super cool.”