While in middle school, Palmetto High senior Carolyn Friedhoff received a grant from Boat USA to teach boaters about recycling.
“We went to Black Point Marina where we would talk to the boaters,” Friedhoff says. “We went out there every week early on Sunday mornings when it was really busy for a couple of months. We set up signs, gave them cinch bags and told them the importance of recycling. We showed them pictures of Mt. Trashmore, which is located along the way to the marina. We also set up recycling bins at Black Point.”
Recycling is an important issue in the Friedhoff household. Her father is an environmentalist, so she learned about the environment at an early age.
“We would go out and put lady bugs on citrus trees and they would eat the insects and the pest aphids. We did that instead of using insecticides,” she says.
Friedhoff is working this summer to reinvigorate the Youth Environmental Awareness Club.
It’s not surprising that she hasn’t had as much time for the Awareness Club, considering that she is a dancer. She dances at the Miami Conservatory of Ballet and is in the company’s production of the Nutcracker.
“We start rehearsing in late August,” she says. “It’s affiliated with the New World School of the Arts. The production is staged at the Dade County Auditorium.”
Friedhoff’s dream is to dance professionally, so she is looking for a college with a strong ballet program. At the same time, the school must have a strong liberal arts program to help her reach her other career goal of going into international law or international relations.
Friedhoff also dances at Palmetto High as a member of the Variations dance club.
“Throughout the year, we perform at school functions and at pep rallies,” she says. “And we do community service projects. This year we went to the Coral Reef Nursing Home. Last year we went to New York City and performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year we went to Disney World and performed there.”
Friedhoff hopes to go back to New York and perform in the parade again.
“It was really fun when we did it the first time,” she says. “We got to tour New York City and dance with other dancers from around the country. It was great to see elite dance teams.”
Outside of school, on two Sundays a month Friedhoff teaches Sunday school to preschoolers with learning disabilities at Riviera Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables. She’s also a member of the Junior Opera Guild and has been on the board since her freshman year. She has just finished her year as president and was the first high school junior to be elected president in the history of the organization.
“Our mission is to create opera awareness in the community,” she says. “In this day and age, opera and the arts in general have been neglected. They don’t interest people as much. It’s too slow paced.”
Which makes the Junior Opera Guild that much more important. The Guild raises money for different opera organizations such as Young Patronesses of the Opera.
“They sponsor in-school opera and Opera Fun Time, which is a fun book they pass out to children in elementary school when they have in-school opera,” Friedhoff says. “They have sheet music and a brief synopsis of the opera so the kids can understand and embrace the production.”
This year the club donated $26,000 to other non-profits.